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Former Turkish Prime Minister Dead at 81

Turkey's former prime minister Bulent Ecevit died late Sunday at an Ankara military hospital after nearly six months in a coma following a stroke. He was 81.

Ecevit, a key figure in Turkish politics for almost half a century, suffered the stroke after attending a funeral for a slain judge on May 18.

Ecevit served as prime minister from 1999 to 2002, when he was voted out of office. Voters held him responsible for a 2001 economic crisis, which helped sweep the current government, with roots in political Islam, to power.

Ecevit is best known for ordering the 1974 invasion of Cyprus after a coup by Greek Cypriots who wanted to unite with Greece. Turkish troops are still in northern Cyprus, and the island is still divided.

Ecevit was also a published poet. Bulent Ecevit dead at the age of 81.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.