Late Turkish President’s Autopsy Finds Poisons

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An autopsy of the
exhumed remains of Turkish president Turgut Ozal, who died in office in 1993,
revealed the presence of four poisons, the pro-government daily Today’s Zaman
reported Saturday.

Pathologists discovered the presence of the insecticide DDT at
10 times the level considered normal, as well as traces of the heavy metal
cadmium and both polonium and americium, two radioactive substances, the
English-language paper said, quoting the Forensic Medicine Council.

The pathologists think the poisons together were enough to kill
Ozal, Today’s Zaman said, adding that the autopsy report would be handed over
to legal authorities soon.

The americium and polonium would have weakened the president, while
the DDT, ingested in food or drink, would have accelerated his demise, the
report said.
Ozal’s remains were exhumed from his mausoleum in Istanbul’s
historic Topkapi district in early October after prosecutors issued a warrant
for toxicology tests.
Family members have long believed that Ozal, an ethnic Kurd who
was seeking a negotiated solution to the bloody conflict with Kurdish
separatists in the southeast when he died, was poisoned.
The belated autopsy was requested following a presidential
palace report that ruled the death “suspicious”, citing the absence of an
investigation and missing blood test results.
Inconsistent witness reports regarding the day of Ozal’s death
further added to the controversy.
Ozal became Turkey’s eighth president in 1989. When he died in
office aged 69, the cause of death was given as heart failure.
Fighting between Turkish soldiers and Kurdish separatists has
claimed more than 45,000 lives since 1984, according to the army.

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