Turkey bids farewell to former president Demirel

Ümit Kozan / Ankara, June 19 () - A state funeral has been held in Ankara for former Turkish President and seven-time Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel, who died aged 90 on June 17.

Demirel’s body was taken from his house on Güniz Street, located in the Tunalı neighborhood of Ankara, at 8 a.m. on June 19, and brought to the Turkish parliament for the state ceremony that was held between 9 and 9:45 a.m.

Demirel lay in state in front of the parliament’s Gate of Honor, where two speeches were delivered in honor of the former president, one from his family and one from the state.

Demirel’s body was then taken to the Kocatepe Mosque on a gun carriage travelling through the streets on a cortege, which was escorted by the Presidential Guard Regiment.

After the funeral prayer, Demirel’s body was flown to the Aegean province of Isparta by a military airplane and transferred to Çalcatepe in his home village of İslamköy, where he will be laid to rest on June 20, Aylin Cesur, Demirel’s doctor, said June 18 in front of Demirel’s house in Ankara.

“President [Demirel] will be laid to rest in Çalcatepe, where a mausoleum will later be built. His wife, Nazmiye Demirel, will be transferred next to him with an arrangement that will be made later,” said Cesur.

Turkish authorities declared three days of national mourning over the passing of Demirel, who was known as “Baba,” or “Father,” to his supporters in Turkey’s farming heartland during his years in power.

Demirel, who served as prime minister seven times from the 1960s to the 1990s and was president from 1993 to 2000, died at Güven Hospital in Ankara where he had been undergoing treatment for a respiratory tract infection.

(Photo)

 

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