Prosecutors exhume body of former President Özal

Prosecutors exhume body of former President Özal

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
Prosecutors exhume body of former President Özal

Turkish soldiers carry a coffin with the remains of late President Turgut Özal, whose remains were exhumed to determine what caused his mysterious death. AA photo

The grave of Turkey’s eighth president, Turgut Özal, was opened yesterday for an autopsy following long discussions and controversy over his death.

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office had made the decision to open the grave of the late president, Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor Turan Çolakkadı said, and they fulfilled the order.

Çolakkadı said they had conducted preliminary work at the mausoleum in Topkapı and planned their course of action for a week. “We discussed how we should open [the grave] and which procedures we should follow with experts and forensic medicine staff. We planned every action, and now we are implementing them. As planned, we opened the grave in accordance with the Ankara chief public prosecutor’s demand. A group including the Forensic Medicine Institute head and experts, units from the Metropolitan Municipality’s Cemeteries Directorate, police teams, the deputy chief prosecutor and two prosecutors is currently working there,” Çolakkadı said.

Çolakkadı said work to reach the body had started in the morning. “The corpse was in its place; we removed the things above him. Now the corpse will be exhumed and analyzed at the Forensic Medicine Institute. Everything went as planned, no problem arose.”

Özal’s body was then taken to the Forensic Medicine Institute for an autopsy.

Report in two months

Forensic Medicine Institute head Haluk İnce refused to give information about the details of the corpse’s condition, and only said that its condition was suitable for examinations.

When asked whether the examinations would reveal if Özal had been poisoned, İnce said it was not possible to say anything yet. “It is not right to make an explanation before investigating it. First we should complete the investigation and reveal our findings,” he said, adding that the results would be directly shared with the public. İnce said he arrived at the mausoleum at 8:00 a.m. with his colleagues.

“In the company of the chief prosecutor, the Forensic Medicine Institute staff and Police Department’s Crime Scene Investigation Team are conducting joint work. We have reached the corpse; we will exhume our deceased president’s body within an hour and send it to the Forensic Medicine Institute.

The work with the samples will continue for a little while after the corpse is removed. When the corpse arrives at the Forensic Medicine Institute, we will carry out our work there. We expect to submit the corpse to the family on Friday or Saturday [Oct. 5 or 6]. As we stated before, our analysis shows that it is not possible to complete the report in less than two months. After the analysis is finished, we will convey the reporting process to the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, and they will make the necessary explanations,” İnce said.

Çolakkadı left the mausoleum after his statements.