Toxins in Turkish President Remains Inconclusive for Poisoning
Halil Turgut Ozal died on April 17, 1993, of a suspicious heart attack while still in office. File photo
The traces of toxic substances, detected in the remains of former late Turkish President Turgut Ozal, are inconclusive that the cause of his death was poisoning, according to a Turkish media report.
The Turkish newspaper Sabah writes Saturday that DDT, DDE, cadmium and the radioactive elements Americium and Polonium, were in very small dozes to cause death, the article says.
In addition, it is deemed normal to find traces of DDT since at the time this was a widely used pesticide, which was later banned, the publication notes, citing the report of Turkey's Council of Forensic Medicine (ATK).
The other toxins could have penetrated the body from the soil where Ozal was buried, the report has further informed.
It is expected that the findings will be published in upcoming days and sent to the country's legal authorities, according to the Bulgarian news agency BGNES.
It was announced in November that four different poisonous substances have been detected in the remains of the former Turkish President, and that sources from ATK have told Today's Zaman that Ozal may have been poisoned with these substances.
Turgut Ozal's remains were exhumed on October 2, 2012, on the order of the Prosecutor's Office in Ankara, on grounds his death remains suspicious.
Halil Turgut Ozal (October 13, 1927 – April 17, 1993) was Prime Minister of Turkey (1983–1989) and President of Turkey (1989–1993). As Prime Minister, he transformed the economy of Turkey by paving the way for the privatization of many state enterprises.
Ozal died on April 17, 1993, of a suspicious heart attack while still in office, leading some to believe in an assassination plot. His wife Semra Ozal has claimed for years he was poisoned by lemonade and she questioned the lack of an autopsy.
Curiously enough, the Turkish President died after a reception at the Bulgarian Embassy in Ankara, held on April 16, one day before him passing away. He, allegedly, drank the lemonade precisely at that reception.
The reception was held in honor of the current Bulgarian Culture Minister, Vezhdi Rashidov. Rashidov, who is an ethnic Bulgarian Turk, is a prominent sculptor.
Earlier, the Turkish paper Bogun claimed the autopsy yielded a high level of toxic agent strychnine in the President's remains.
Haluk Ince, from the Forensic Medicine Council, was quoted saying, he had no idea where that information came from but stressed experts had found no traces of strychnine in the samples and the final report hadn't been completed yet.
During the Communist regime, Ozal was known as a strong defender of Bulgarian ethnic Turks, who were hunted by the government for refusing to change their Muslim names with Christian ones during the so-called "Revival Process."
He adopted Bulgarian ethnic Turkish weightlifting champion Naim Suleimanoglou after the latter defected to Turkey.
The blood samples taken to determine his cause of death were lost or disposed of. Ozal sought to create a Turkic union, and had obtained the commitment of several presidents.
His wife Semra alleged that the perpetrator might have wanted to foil the plan.
On June 18, 1988, he survived an assassination attempt during the party congress. One bullet wounded his finger while another bullet missed his head. The assassin, Kartal Demirag, was captured and sentenced to life imprisonment but pardoned by Ozal in 1992.
In late 2008, Demirag was retried by the Ankara 11th Heavy Penal Court and sentenced to twenty years in prison.
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