UPDATE – Turkey to hold state funeral for late president


Former president Suleyman Demirel’s funeral prayer to be performed in capital Ankara with state honors Friday, says PM


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ANKARA – Turkey will bid farewell to its late president Suleyman Demirel in a funeral ceremony with state honors Friday in capital Ankara, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has announced.

Turkey’s ninth president Demirel, who escaped an assassination attempt and suffered two military coups, has died of heart failure due to respiratory tract infection at the age of 91 late Tuesday.

The funeral prayer will be performed in Kocatepe Mosque, in the center of the capital, after the Friday prayer, Davutoglu told reporters Wednesday after a visit of condolences to Demirel’s residence.

The prime minister said another ceremony will be held in Isparta province, the ex-president’s hometown, where he will be buried.

Davutoglu also announced three days of national mourning beginning Wednesday.

A ceremony will be held at the parliament between 9.00 and 10.00 a.m. local time (between 0600 and 0700GMT) Friday before the funeral prayer at Kocatepe Mosque at 1.00 p.m. (1000GMT), presidential sources said.

Following the funeral prayer, Demirel’s body will be taken to Isparta by plane, and he will be buried Saturday at 2.30 p.m. (1130GMT) following a second funeral prayer at the Islamkoy Sehriban Hatun Mosque, they added.

Earlier in the day, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Davutoglu offered their condolences over the death of Demirel.

Demirel was one of Turkey’s most prominent center-right political figures. He served as the country’s prime minister seven times and was president from 1993 to 2000.

With just over a decade in office as premier, he was Turkey’s third-longest serving prime minister after Turkey’s first ever prime minister Ismet Inonu and Erdogan.

There are many high schools across the country, a university, and an airport in Isparta named after Demirel.