The body of Turkey’s late president Turgut Ozal was to be exhumed on Tuesday for a belated autopsy as part of a probe into allegations that his death in 1993 might have been caused by poisoning, Anatolia reported.
The exhumation began early in the morning at Ozals’ mausoleum in Istanbul’s historic Topkapi district, after prosecutors issued a warrant for toxicology tests on his remains last month, according to the agency.
The belated autopsy was requested following a presidential palace report that ruled the eighth president’s death “suspicious,” citing the lack of an investigation at the time of his death and missing blood test results.
The State Audit Board report, ordered by President Abdullah Gul in March, suggested that an autopsy could reveal the certain cause of death and conclude an almost two-decade old “mystery.”
Ozal, a pro-Western and ethnic Kurdish visionary, died on April 17, 1993, in office, after an alleged heart failure.
But his family later claimed that the late president might have been poisoned to death. Inconsistent witness reports regarding the day of his death further added to the controversy.
A team of forensics experts will be studying the remains for 48 hours, and return the body for reburial, according to Turkish media.
But experts say the process is likely to take months and the tests, run almost two decades after Ozal’s death, may not yield conclusive results