Ex-general acquitted in ‘murder’ case of former Turkish president Özal
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
The lawyer of Ersöz speaks to the media after an Ankara court acquitted the former general (2nd R) in a case investigating the death of Turgut Özal. AA PhotoFormer General Levent Ersöz has been acquitted in a case investigating the death of Turkey’s eighth president, Turgut Özal, after an Ankara court ruled that there was not sufficient and concrete evidence that he was complicit in the murder.
In 2012, prosecutors reopened the case after a State Audit Board (DDK) report ruled Özal’s death “suspicious” and said it should be investigated. His body was then exhumed for samples to be collected for the investigation.
Turkey’s Forensic Medicine Institute (ATK) did not find any evidence that Özal was poisoned in the autopsy; however, the Ankara Chief Prosecution Office still resumed the investigation, interrogating Ersöz for his role in the alleged murder.
Ersöz, who is also a suspect in the Ergenekon coup case, has denied all accusations.
The Ankara 4th Heavy Penalty Court made its decision on Ersöz after the prosecutor demanded that he be acquitted due to insufficient evidence for the accusation during a hearing on Nov. 26.
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 partly of 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 were not initially addressed because no autopsy was performed following his passing. His widow, Semra Özal, and his son, Ahmet Özal, both claim that he was assassinated by heavy metal poisoning.