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december 26, 2012 • 01:20 PM

Turkish ex-president's son wants autopsy report made public

Presidential honour guard carry coffin of President Turgut Ozal as Turkish generals with drawn swords accompany them during a funeral procession in Ankara April 21..
Foto: Reuters

The full report of an autopsy on late President Turgut Ozal, who led Turkey out of military rule in the 1980s, should be released for public scrutiny, the former leader's son said on Wednesday.

Ozal's body was recently exhumed after years of rumors that was murdered by militants of the "deep state" - a shadowy group within the Turkish establishment of the day. He had angered some with his efforts to end a Kurdish insurgency and survived an assassination bid in 1988.

The body of Ozal, who died of heart failure in 1993 aged 65, was exhumed in October on the orders of prosecutors investigating suspicions of foul play.

But the summary this month of the forensic medicine institute report said the exact cause of death could not be determined because no autopsy was conducted immediately after Ozal died.

The former president's son, Ahmet Ozal, who like other members of his family believes his father may have been poisoned, wants the full scientific autopsy report published.

"The scientific findings ... should not be disclosed only to the council of forensic medicine but also to universities so specialists and professors can also evaluate the results," Ahmet Ozal, a former lawmaker, told reporters.

He said he would also file legal cases against people involved in organizing his father's removal to hospital on the day of his death once a full report by the state inspection committee was released. So far only parts of the report have been released to the public.

Ozal, the eighth president of the Turkish Republic, died in an Ankara hospital while still in office.

Viewed as helping to shape modern Turkey with free market economic policies, Ozal also supported the U.S.-led coalition which expelled Iraq from Kuwait in 1991.

After a period of military rule following a 1980 coup, Ozal dominated Turkish politics as prime minister from 1983-89 and parliament then elected him president.

While prime minister, Ozal was shot by a right-wing gunman in 1988 at a party congress, but survived with a wounded finger.

After a triple heart bypass operation in the United States in 1987, he kept up a grueling schedule and remained overweight until he died.

Ankara prosecutors are continuing their investigation into Ozal's death and state prosecutors elsewhere have started investigating the deaths of other public figures from the 1990s.

Turkish political history is littered with military coups, alleged anti-government plots and extra-judicial killings. A Turkish court is trying hundreds of people suspected of links to a nationalist underground network known as "Ergenekon" accused of plotting to overthrow the current government.

(Editing by Jonathon Burch/Ruth Pitchford)

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