News / Europe

Turkey Exhumes Former President's Body

Former Turkish President Turgut Ozal (file photo)
Former Turkish President Turgut Ozal (file photo)
Dorian Jones
— Turkey is exhuming the body of former president Turgut Ozal for a probe into his April 1993 death. Officially Ozal died of a heart attack, but controversy about the circumstances of his death persist.

Early Tuesday, the deputy public prosecutor, senior forensic officials, and a bomb disposal team were at the Istanbul mausoleum where President Ozal is buried.

The head of Istanbul's forensic department Haluk Ince said a thorough inquiry would be carried out.

He said the pieces of bones and whatever flesh is left, will be examined to see if there is any traumatic or any pathological findings, and samples will be taken for toxicological analysis, including from the earth surrounding the grave. He added that investigators would do their best, knowing time is not on their side.

According to Ince, the findings will not be ready for at least two months. His exhumation follows an official report in June that concluded the death was suspicious.  Semra Ozal, the former president's wife, has been in the forefront of demanding an investigation.

She believes her husband was poisoned by "a poison that is like a time bomb".  She said she was not there when he drank lemonade, and that if she had been there she would not have allowed him to drink it.

Despite being president, no autopsy was carried out after Ozal's death. Officials at the time claim the decision was made in respect to family wishes -- a claim disputed by family members.

President Ozal is widely considered as one the country's most important political figures, first as prime minister and then president. He led Turkey out of an era of military rule following the 1980 coup. He often challenged the then-powerful generals, which experts say made him dangerous enemies.

In 1988 a gunman attempted to assassinate Ozal while addressing a political rally, but went on to complete his speech. Ozal's family claimed he was subject to several other attempts on his life.

The charismatic leader also challenged other political taboos.  At the time of his death he was seeking to open talks with the Kurdish rebel group the PKK. He also liberalized the Turkish economy, which observers say laid the foundations for the country's present economic prosperity. 

But some critics accuse him of releasing unbridled corruption during his rule.

Observers say the investigation will seek to resolve one of greatest political mysteries of the country, as well as helping to close a period characterized by violence and assassinations.

You May Like

Video On The Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime bombardment, VOA correspondent finds More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid