President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
visited the tombs of three former leaders on April 17, one day after Turkey voted in favor of shifting to an executive presidential system in a constitutional referendum.
Erdoğan visited the tombs of former president Turgut Özal and former prime ministers Necmettin Erbakan and Adnan Menderes in Istanbul.
He initially attended a commemoration ceremony organized for the 24th anniversary of Özal’s death in Istanbul’s Topkapı district. A number of high-level figures attended the ceremony, including Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman, Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın, Energy Minister Berat Albayrak and Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş, as well as Özal’s wife Semra Özal and her relatives.
Speaking after the commemoration, Özal said her late husband had first brought the issue of the presidential system to Turkey’s agenda, and expressed a wish for the referendum result to be “auspicious for Turkey.”
Erdoğan then moved on to visit the tomb of Menderes, who served as prime minister for 10 years before he was jailed and hanged on Sept. 17, 1961 following the 1960 coup, along with senior officials.
Before leaving the tomb, the president reportedly told Topbaş and Zeytinburnu Mayor Murat Aydın to address damp in the ceiling of the mausoleum.
The third destination of Erdoğan and those with him was the tomb of the former leader of the now defunct Welfare Party (RP), Erbakan, who died six years ago.
Erdoğan then arrived in Eyüp Sultan Mosque at around 12:15 p.m. and prayed at the shrine.