ISTANBUL, Nov. 2 (Xinhua) -- Former Turkish president Turgut Ozal had been killed by a highly venomous poison in 1993, a Turkish daily claimed here on Friday.
Citing an unpublished autopsy report prepared by the Forensic Medicine Institute (ATK), the Today Daily said in its report that Turgut Ozal was poisoned by "strychnine creatine".
An investigation into the suspicious death of the former president began earlier this year after a number of witnesses spoke of unusual circumstances on the day of the death of the then- president, who was reported to have suffered a heart attack.
The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office recently issued a warrant to exhume the remains of the president for toxicology testing.
Ozal, the eighth president of the Turkish Republic, died of heart failure in April of 1993 at an Ankara hospital at the age of 65 while serving in office.
Prosecutors decided in September that Ozal's remains should be exhumed and an autopsy performed after a state supervisory board, acting on the order of President Abdullah Gul, released a report in June that voiced suspicions about the death.
The report was ordered in response to the suspicions of Ozal's family and friends about his death and a subsequent investigation.
After the reburial of Ozal, the ATK said it would release its report in two months.
In the leaked autopsy report, the daily claims that the doctors who conducted the autopsy investigated Ozal's bone marrow, parts of his internal organs and examples of other parts of his body.
It added that the examination revealed a high level of strychnine in his body.
Strychnine is a powerful poison that leads to respiratory failure in 15-20 minutes and could also cause a heart attack.
ATK head Haluk Ince, however, released a statement on Friday saying that the report has not yet been completed and examinations still continue.
But Ozal's son Ahmet Ozal, who earlier alleged that his father had been poisoned, was quoted on Friday by Turkish media saying that he was told his father might have been poisoned.
The prosecutor's office is also investigating a number of unusual circumstances that came to light following Ozal's alleged heart attack.
After a period of military rule following the country's 1980 coup, Ozal dominated Turkish politics as prime minister from 1983- 89, after which Parliament elected him president.
While prime minister, Ozal survived an assassination attempt by a right-wing gunman in 1988 when he was shot at a party congress, suffering only a wound to his finger.
Seen as a visionary who helped shape modern Turkey with free market economic policies, Ozal also lent firm support to the West, backing the US-led coalition that expelled Iraq from Kuwait in 1991.
Ozal led Turkey out of military rule in the 1980s and drove far- reaching economic reform.
Turkey exhumes ex-president after 19 years' death
ISTANBUL, Oct. 2 (Xinhua) -- Turkey started work to open late president Turgut Ozal's grave in Istanbul on Tuesday as part of a belated investigation into the cause of his death in 1993.
Heavy machinery was deployed to the gravesite, surrounded by steel walls, early in the morning, where a criminal investigation team, a bomb disposal team, police officers and officials from the Council of Forensic Medicine were present. Full story