Ret. General summoned to court in former President Özal’s death investigation
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Retired Gen. Hurşit Tolon (C) at a funeral. DHA photoAn Ankara court summoned retired Gen. Hurşit Tolon – who is already under arrest as part of the alleged coup plot Ergenekon – to court as part of an investigation into the suspicious death of Turkey’s eighth president, Turgut Özal.
Tolon was transferred from Istanbul to Ankara this morning and is currently delivering his testimony to the prosecutor Kemal Çetin.
A court in Malatya had also issued an arrest warrant on Jan. 18 for retired Gen. Hurşit Tolon over the torture and murder of three Christians in the eastern province’s Zirve Publishing House in 2007.
A report by Turkey’s Forensic Medicine Institute (ATK) had not found any evidence that Özal was poisoned, following a recent autopsy carried out after Turkey’s State Audit Board (DDK) ruled in a report last June that Özal’s death was “suspicious” and should be investigated.
Özal’s body was exhumed this year after DDK’s demand.
Özal was elected prime minister in 1983 in the aftermath of the Sept. 12, 1980 military coup and later became the country’s eighth president in 1989. Born in the eastern province of Malatya, Özal was of partially Kurdish origin, and his policies led to a huge liberalization of the Turkish economy. However, his tenure in office was cut short when he died on April 17, 1993.
Doubts about the cause of Özal’s death, however, were never addressed because no autopsy was performed following his death. His widow, Semra Özal, and Ahmet Özal have claimed that he was assassinated by heavy metal poisoning.