An autopsy on the exhumed body of Turkey’s late president, Turgut Ozal, who led the country out of military rule in the 1980s, has found evidence of poisoning, a leading Turkish newspaper has reported.
There had long been rumours that Mr Ozal, who died of heart failure in 1993, aged 65, was murdered by militants of the “deep state” – a shadowy nationalist strain within the Turkish establishment of the day. Mr Ozal had angered some with his efforts to end a Kurdish insurgency and survived an assassination bid in 1988.
His body, dug up last month on the orders of prosecutors investigating suspicions of foul play in his death, contained the banned insecticide DDT and the related compound DDE at ten times the normal level, Zaman cited sources from the state Forensic Medicine Institute (ATK) as saying.
“Ozal was most likely poisoned with four separate substances,” the paper reported the sources as saying, also naming the toxic metal cadmium and the radioactive elements americium and polonium as substances found in Mr Ozal’s remains.
Forensic institute officials declined to comment.
Suleyman Demirel, who followed Mr Ozal as president, dismissed such allegations. “I don’t agree with any of the allegations that Turgut Ozal was murdered,” state-run Anatolian news agency reported Demirel as saying.