Family to testify in trial into former president Ozal's suspicious death

The son and widow of Turgut Özal will testify as complainants in a trial into the former president's suspicious death, the prime suspect in which is Ergenekon defendant retired Brig. Gen. Levent Ersöz.

Family to testify in trial into former president Ozal's suspicious death

World Bulletin/News Desk

The son and widow of Turgut Özal will testify as complainants in a trial into the former president's suspicious death, the prime suspect in which is Ergenekon defendant retired Brig. Gen. Levent Ersöz.

The trial began on April 16 after an Ankara court accepted an indictment over Özal's death in 1993, which names retired Brig. Gen. Ersöz the prime suspect and seeks life imprisonment.

Özal's widow Semra Özal and his son Ahmet Özal are set to testify today at the İstanbul Courthouse. The Ankara 13rd High Criminal Court, which will hear the case, had decided earlier to allow Özal's family to testify at an İstanbul court to prevent them from having to travel to Ankara for every hearing.

In the indictment, Prosecutor Kemal Çetin accused Ersöz of playing a role in Özal's death and charges him under Article 156 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) for conspiracy against the president. The indictment lists Özal's widow and son as co-plaintiffs. Ersöz is also a key suspect in the trial over the workings of the Ergenekon group, a clandestine network accused of trying to overthrow the government.

Özal's body was exhumed last October after years of rumors that he was murdered by members of the "deep state" -- a shadowy group within the Turkish establishment. He had angered some with efforts to end a Kurdish campaign of violence and survived an assassination attempt in 1988. An autopsy last year failed to find any evidence that Özal, who died of heart failure in 1993 at age 65, had been poisoned -- as some members of his family had claimed.

Özal, whose free market economic reforms 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 grueling schedule and remained overweight.

He dominated 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.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 12 Temmuz 2013, 11:07
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