• Autopsy on former Turkish leader inconclusive
     | December 13,2012

    ANKARA, Turkey — Authorities investigating former President Turgut Ozal’s death in office in April 1993 found traces of toxic material in samples from his exhumed body but could not conclude he died of poisoning, Turkey’s state-run news agency said Wednesday.

    Forensic experts exhumed Ozal’s body in October and tested samples for possible poisoning after an official report concluded that his death was suspicious.

    The Anadolu Agency, quoting from a forensic report submitted to prosecutors, said “cadmium and DDT” were detected in Ozal’s body but that officials could not say the cause of death was poisoning.

    Prosecutors have not made the report public, and it was unclear whether the autopsy had concluded what did cause Ozal’s death.

    When Ozal, who had undergone triple bypass surgery in 1987, died, doctors blamed heart failure. But no autopsy was performed, and family members have long claimed the president might have been poisoned.

    Ozal’s pro-Western policies helped modernize Turkey and gave the U.S.-led coalition a strategic ally during the Persian Gulf War.

    But the president, who is of Kurdish origin, was allegedly preparing to announce a plan to reconcile with the Kurdish minority as a war by Kurdish rebels for autonomy in southeastern Turkey was reaching a peak.

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