* Prosecutors investigating suspicions Ozal was poisoned
* President Ozal helped shape modern Turkey
* Died of heart failure in 1993
ISTANBUL, Nov 26 An autopsy on the exhumed body
of Turkey's late President Turgut Ozal, who led the country out
of military rule in the 1980s, has found evidence of poisoning,
a newspaper reported on Monday.
There had long been rumours that Ozal, who died of heart
failure in 1993 aged 65, was murdered by militants of the "deep
state" - a shadowy nationalist strain within the Turkish
establishment of the day. Ozal had angered some with his efforts
to end a Kurdish insurgency and survived an assassination bid in
His body, dug up last month on the orders of prosecutors
investigating suspicions of foul play in his death, contained
the banned insecticide DDT and the related compound DDE at 10
times the normal level, Today's Zaman cited sources from the
state Forensic Medicine Institute (ATK) as saying.
"Ozal was most likely poisoned with four separate
substances," the paper reported the sources as saying, also
naming the toxic metal cadmium and the radioactive elements
americium and polonium as substances found in Ozal's remains.
Forensic institute officials declined to comment.
Suleyman Demirel, who followed Ozal as president, dismissed
such allegations. "I don't agree with any of the allegations
that Turgut Ozal was murdered," state-run Anatolian news agency
reported Demirel as telling reporters.
Demirel, prime minister when Ozal died and subsequently
president until 2000, did not elaborate.
Ozal, whose economic reforms easing the grip of the state on
business helped shape modern Turkey, was in poor health before
his death. After undergoing a triple heart bypass operation in
the United States in 1987, he kept up a gruelling schedule and
remained overweight until he died.
His moves to end a Kurdish insurgency and create a Turkic
union with central Asian states have been cited as motives for
would-be enemies in "deep state", in which security
establishment figures and criminal elements colluded.
It was Turkey's military leaders who appointed him as a
minister after a period of military rule following a 1980 coup.
He went on to dominate Turkish politics as prime minister
from 1983 to 1989. Parliament then elected him president, but
those close to him believe his reform efforts displeased some in
the security establishment.
While prime minister, Ozal survived an assassination attempt
by a right-wing gunman in 1988 when he was shot at a party
congress, injuring a finger.
Turkish political history has been littered with military
coups, alleged anti-government plots and extra-judicial
killings. A court is currently trying hundreds of people
suspected of links to a nationalist underground network known as
"Ergenekon" accused of plotting to overthrow the government.
A media report at the start of November said Ozal's autopsy
had revealed high levels of the pesticide strychnine, but the
ATK subsequently denied the report.
The head of the ATK has said the institute aims to complete
its work in December and that its report would be handed over to