Özal remembered by his grave, 20 years on

Özal remembered by his grave, 20 years on

ISTANBUL - Doğan News Agency
Özal remembered by his grave, 20 years on

Turgut Özal’s granddaughter, Serra, leaves flowers on the grave of Turkey’s eighth president on the 20th anniversary of his death during a ceremony. AA photo

The 20th anniversary of the death of Turkey’s eighth president, Turgut Özal, saw family members and state officials uniting to pay respects to the former president, as his wife called on officials to grant Özal the status of a martyr.

Presidential Secretary-General Mustafa İsen, Chief of War Academies Gen. Metin Salt and Istanbul Gov. Hüseyin Avni Mutlu were among those present to join the Özal family in remembering Özal, who died of heart failure in 1993, aged 65.

The ceremony began with İsen laying a wreath on Özal’s gravesite, and continued with a moment of silence for the deceased president.

Semra Özal, the former president’s wife, called on officials to register Özal’s status as a martyr.

“I want the martyrdom of the deceased to be registered,” Semra Özal told reporters after the ceremony. “I want his rights to be granted as a martyr. He really was someone killed on duty. He is a true martyr. It is vital that he reaches that status. I want all his rights to be given, that is all I want.”

Turkish President Abdullah Gül released a message yesterday, calling the late president “a valuable leader” who “served the country with great love.”

“He has reached the love of our people through his service, his personality, his ideas and his achievements,” Gül said.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also remembered Özal saying: “He fought until his last breath for the improvement of our democracy, the wealth of our nation and our development.”

Opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu also commemorated the former statesman.

“I once again remember Turkey’s eighth president Turgut Özal on the 20th anniversary of his death and pass on my condolences to his family and to our nation,” a statement read.

There have long been rumors that Özal’s efforts to end a Kurdish insurgency angered the “deep state,” and that he may have been poisoned as a result.

Last year, the late president’s body was exhumed but an autopsy has revealed traces of toxic substances despite not reaching no concrete results on the cause of death.