Özal’s widow looks to meet president over death report

Özal’s widow looks to meet president over death report

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Özal’s widow looks to meet president over death report

This file photo shows late President Özal (L) with then PM and later President Demirel. Ex-President Demirel dismisses a report calling Özal’s death ‘suspicious.’ Hürriyet photo

The widow of late President Turgut Özal has requested a meeting with President Abdullah Gül after the June 13 release of a report that resurrected a row ove the leader’s 1993 death by calling it “suspicious” even as Özal’s successor, Süleyman Demirel, dismissed claims that he was assassinated.
Gül’s office said the request came from Semra Özal and that Gül had agreed to meet her in principle, though the date and venue are yet to be set. Semra Özal said earlier that there were strong suspicions that her husband had been poisoned.

Süleyman Demirel, who replaced Özal as Turkey’s president, expressed his belief that his death was a normal one and dismissed claims of poisoning. “The person in question is the head of state. The state has many capabilities. It can probe and reveal things. But no one believes in anything the state reveals,” he said, adding that the same would apply in the event that confirmation emerged proving he was assassinated.

A senior government member, however, described the State Audit Board (DDK) report as a detailed one. “I think it will be held by [the] judges. The report goes to the Ankara Public Prosecutor’s office. They will do their evaluation according to that report. It will mean that they will have another evaluation,” Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay told Anatolia news agency yesterday.

Özal, who did not have any known long-term or serious illnesses, died unexpectedly on April 17, 1993, while in office.

“Such a death should always be approached as suspicious,” said the conclusion of the 44-page report published on the official website of the president’s office.

The DDK report said the failure to perform an autopsy at the time of death was inexplicable. The lack of written procedures on the process for issuing statements on the deaths or serious injuries of sitting presidents also contributed to speculation surrounding Özal’s death, it added.