Turkey marks death anniversary of eight president

By Guc Gonel, Berk Ozkan and Sinan Uslu

ISTANBUL (AA) – The death anniversary of Turkey's eighth President Turgut Ozal was marked on Saturday with a ceremony that was attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Ozal's family and government officials.

Among participants at the ceremony held at his memorial graveyard in Istanbul's Topkapi district were Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, Communications Director Fahrettin Altun, Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin, Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya, Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu and other officials.

Erdogan placed a wreath on the grave.

"I feel empty without him" Ozal's wife, Semra, told reporters.

“It is difficult to speak about him, my longing and pain increases,” she said while confined to a wheelchair.

Ozal pioneered several major innovations for the nation in line with the target of Great Turkey, Erdogan said in a statement earlier, according to Turkey's Communication Directorate.

"Turgut Ozal has won the love of our nation with his exceptional personality as well as the democratization and development moves he pioneered," said Erdogan.

Parliament Speaker Mustafa Sentop said: "I commemorate President Turgut Ozal with mercy and gratitude on the 28th anniversary of his death."