ATK finalizes report on Özal’s death, confirms poison

Former President Turgut Özal. (Photo: AP)
The Council of Forensic Medicine (ATK) has finalized its awaited report after conducting forensic tests on the remains of the eighth president of Turkey, Turgut Özal, whose death 19 years ago is now the subject of a new investigation, and confirmed the presence of poisonous substances in Özal’s body but fell short of any final conclusion concerning whether the former president was indeed poisoned.

The institution said in a statement that the tests confirmed the presence of poison in the remains of the former president, but members of the council were unable to reach a unanimous conclusion to officially determine that poison was the root cause of Özal’s death.

The report will be sent to the Ankara Prosecutor’s Office, which is overseeing the investigation, on Wednesday.
Speaking to NTV on Tuesday evening, ATK President Haluk ?nce dismissed claims suggesting that Özal’s cause of death was other than poison. When the report was made public on Tuesday evening, some pundits and commentators said the report proves that Özal did not die due to poisoning.

ATK medical experts failed to deliver a final conclusion over the cause of Özal’s death, noting that although they did detect poisonous substances in the remains of the former president, they are unable to say that the substances were the cause of his death.

An investigation into Özal’s suspicious death began earlier this year after a number of witnesses spoke of unusual circumstances on the day of the death of the former president, who was reported to have suffered a heart attack. The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office recently issued a warrant to exhume the remains of the president for toxicological testing.

Özal died of heart failure in April 1993 at an Ankara hospital at the age of 65 while serving in office.

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