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Former Turkey President Suleyman Demirel died

Jun 20, 2015 16:58 IST

Suleyman DemirelFormer Turkish President Suleyman Demirel died on 17 June 2015 following a heart failure and a respiratory tract infection. He was 90. Demirel was one of the dominant figures in Turkey's politics for over half a century.

He served as the President of Turkey from 1993 to 2000, but before that he also held the post of Prime Minister of the country several times in the 1960s and 1970s.

Demirel launched his political career in the aftermath of the 1960 military coup that deposed the Government of Prime Minister Adnan Menderes. He came to power with a landslide win in 1965 as the Prime Minister of Turkey.

However, when the ideological conflict started to turn violent in the Turkey, Demirel was forced out of office in 1971 through a military coup. Demirel was back in power in 1975, but his Coalition Government including Islamists and nationalists again failed to halt Turkey's slide into chaos.

As president, Demirel fostered ties with the Turkic republics of the former Soviet Union and took credit for brokering the removal of an Islamist government from power under pressure from the secular-minded military in 1997.

Demirel was a trained civil engineer. He oversaw many hydroelectric projects and became Director General of the State Hydraulic Works where he looked after the construction of dams. He was born to a farming family in the western Turkish province of Isparta in November 1924.

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Who: Suleyman Demirel

What: Died

When: 17 June 2015

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