Sources: Turkish president was poisoned

Nov. 25, 2012 at 1:14 PM
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ANKARA, Turkey, Nov. 25 (UPI) -- An autopsy report suggests former Turkish president Turgut Ozal died of poisoning in 1993, sources told Today's Zaman.

The Turkish newspaper said strychnine appears to be the cause of Ozal's death, and that the pesticide DDT was also found in his system.

The Council on Forensic Medicine (ATK) exhumed Ozal's body based on suspicions about his death among family members and current president Abdullah Gul. The report has not been officially released, but sources told Today's Zaman the ATK had changed Ozal's cause of death.

Ozal was 65 when he died in office in 1993 of what was believed to be a heart attack. Investigators noted strychnine can cause respiratory and cardiac arrest minutes after it is ingested.

As for DDT, the pesticide was banned in Turkey in 1980 but it was present in Ozal's body at levels high enough that investigators suspect Ozal unwittingly ate or drank the toxic chemical.

Additional toxins discovered in Ozal's remains included radioactive Polonium and Americium as well as DDE, another pesticide that can cause liver damage. Daily Zaman said investigators suspect the radioactive elements weakened Ozal and the other poisons killed him.

The next step in the investigation is finding out what Ozal ate and drank in his finals days and whether there was an intentional poisoning involved, the newspaper said.

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