Former aide says Özal murdered after meetings with Öcalan

June 15, 2012, Friday/ 18:06:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Amidst the repercussions of a recent report by the State Audit Institution (DDK), which found the 1993 death of then-President Turgut Özal to be “suspicious,” Özal’s principal clerk, Feyzi İşbaşaran, has said Özal was murdered because he sought a solution to the long-standing Kurdish issue.

The DDK’s report announced on Wednesday its findings regarding allegations that Özal might have been poisoned in his last years. Doctors at the time said Özal, who underwent a triple bypass surgery in 1987, died of heart failure. The report states the president’s death was sudden as he was not suffering from any chronic disease.The DDK also suggested exhuming Özal’s remains and conducting an autopsy.

Commenting on the allegations that Özal might have been killed, İşbaşaran said in an interview with the Takvim daily that Özal was murdered after he had met several times with Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), in northern Iraq to solve the Kurdish problem.

“Both Eşref Bitlis [then commander of the gendarmerie who was killed in a plane crash in February 1993 -- another event considered by some to be deeply suspicious] and Özal were working intensely to solve Turkey’s deep-seated Kurdish issue,” İşbaşaran said. Bitlis was very close to Özal and outspoken about a “civilian solution” to the Kurdish issue.

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