Turkey Exhumes Ex-President over Suspected Poisoning

Turkish president Turgut Ozal's body was unearthed, 19 years after his passing

The remains of former Turkish President Turgut Ozal are to be unearthed after relatives questioned the cause of his death. Ozal was still in office at the time of his passing, 19 years ago.

In April of '93, pathologists declared heart failure to be the cause of his untimely death. Relatives and associates have recently asked for the case to be reopened, suspecting the leader had been poisoned.

The court deemed it necessary to exhume Ozal's body, making the final ruling two weeks ago. Current president Abdullah Gul supported the decision to release an exhumation order. According to the Huffington Post, an autopsy will be performed, under supervision by a state appointed board.

Ozal passed away at a hospital in Ankara, and was buried in a mausoleum located in an Istanbul grave yard. At the time, there was no suspicion of foul play and there was no investigation as to what lead to the death of the 65-year-old man.

He had been Prime Minister of Turkey between 1983 and 1989. He went on to become President in 1989. He was an electrical engineering graduate from the Istanbul Technical University, and worked on many electrification projects.

Turgut Ozal was the eighth president of the Turkish Republic. During his years in office, he contributed to the privatization of many state enterprises. He adhered to free market principles and welcomed western investors, Wikipedia informs.

In a controversial move, he offered his support to the United States in their campaign to drive Iraqi forces out of Kuwait in 1991.

Ozal had already survived an assassination attempt. He was shot on June 18, 1988, by a hired gun contracted by right wing leader General Sabri Yirmibeşoğlu. Yirmibeşoğlu was not linked to the attempt on the president's life until he had assumed the position of secretary general of the National Security Council.

When news of his involvement reached the president, he was forced into retirement. Ozal had suffered an injured finger, and one of the bullets missed his head by an inch.

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