The former President of Turkey, Turgut Ozal, may have been poisoned to death, according to an autopsy performed on his exhumed body, according to the government's Council of Forensic Medicine Institute (ATK).
Todays Zaman, an English-language Turkish newspaper, reported that Ozal's body revealed the presence of DDT, the banned insecticide, as well as a similar compound DDE at 10 times normal level.
The DDT was likely transmitted to Ozal's body through food and drink.
In addition, traces of the toxic metal Cadmium and radioactive elements Americium and Polonium were also found in his corpse.
Prosecutors ordered the exhumation of Ozal's body last month over suspicions that he met his end through foul play.
Ozal, who died in April 1993 at the age of 65 of heart failure, had led his nation away from decades of military rule, prompting many rumors over the years that he might have been targeted by nationalist militant forces.
He had made many enemies within the Turkish establishment by his attempts to end the military's war against the Kurdish separatists and by privatizing many state enterprises. He also sought to form a 'Turkic' union with several nations in central Asia.
Indeed, in 1988, Ozal survived an assassination attempt by a right-wing gunman.
Prior to his death, Ozal endured extreme stress – he was overweight and underwent a triple heart bypass operation in the U.S. In 1987.
He dominated Turkish politics in the 1980s – appointed prime minister in 1980 in the wake of a military coup, he then served as president from 1989 until his death.
Former Education Minister Vehbi Dinçerler told Today's Zaman that a new probe should be launched into Ozal''s mysterious demise.
“In addition, a failed assassination attempt against Özal [in 1988] should also be probed, and the reality behind the attempt should be exposed. The State Audit Institution [DDK] should spur action to investigate the assassination attempt,” Dinçerler said.
Former Minister Hasan Celal Güzel told the paper: “The [ATK] findings are so saddening. They show that the former president was martyred. He was one of the leading politicians of his time, and he was killed treacherously. The people who were behind the murder should immediately be exposed. Had an investigation been launched then, Özal's killers would have been found.”
Sait Yazıcıoğlu, a former minister, said if Ozal was poisoned the likely culprits were those close to him.
“It is really hard to figure out how the poisonous substances were added gradually to his meals.”
In December, the ATK will submit its final report on Ozal's autopsy to the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office.
If Ozal was indeed murdered, suspicion would fall on elements of the shadowy “Ergenekon” – or "deep state" – a nebulous right-wing nationalist organization that reportedly comprises elements of Turkey's security-military establishment and organized crime.
Under the approval of Turkey's current Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, courts have put on trial hundreds of alleged members of the "deep state" on charges they plotted to overthrow the government.
Palash has worked as a business journalist for 21 years in New York.