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December 14, 2012, Friday

Mystery over Özal’s death

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, which is investigating the suspicious 1993 death of late President Turgut Özal, has announced that a Council of Forensic Medicine (ATK) report states that Özal’s exhumed remains contained poisonous substances but that forensic experts were unable to conclusively determine whether poison was the cause of death.

 However, the report has failed to convince columnists, who say it will not satisfy the people.

Deniz Ülke Arıboğan from Akşam says new questions should be asked now to avoid deadlock on the issue. Was there a reason to kill him? There are mostly political reasons or consequences for killing a politician. Furthermore, there had been a previous assassination attempt on Özal’s life. So it might have been assassination. Could there have been attempts at a cover-up during the ATK’s autopsy process? Arıboğan says she is highly suspicions about it. She strongly believes he was assassinated, yet, here we are with no solid information to prove it.

Yeni Şafak’s Özlem Albayrak focuses on another aspect of the situation, saying that the cause of Özal’s death has to be revealed to allay concerns that Turkey lacks the power to protect its own president. People need the feeling of security as much as they need the feeling of freedom. Otherwise they lose their confidence in the state and lose their faith in the state to safeguard its citizens and make their lives easier. Risk societies are always formed this way, Albayrak warns.

However, some columnists do believe in the findings of the ATK report and say that if the report finds that he did not die of poison, then we should accept it. One of those columnists, Taha Akyol from Hürriyet, says the fact that we are a paranoid society is as critical an issue as the question of whether Özal was murdered or not. The investigation into the cause of Özal’s death has now become more than a forensic investigation. It became a subject of paranoia and conspiracy plots, which has led to the public ignoring scientific reports such as the ATK report, he says.

Adem Yavuz Arslan from Bugün ponders what is going to happen now. He says prosecutors have said the investigation into Özal’s death goes on, but no new report has been requested from any other institution. This means the investigation will be put into the archives unless new evidence is revealed. Yet the public is now even more confused than ever.

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