Turkey’s Former President Dies

Turkey’s Former President DiesTurkey’s Former President Dies

Suleyman Demirel, one of the dominant figures in Turkey's politics for the past half-century, died early Wednesday at the age of 90.

He died of heart failure resulting from a severe respiratory tract infection, the state Anatolia news agency said, quoting the private Ankara Hospital where he was treated, AFP reported.

Demirel served as prime minister on repeated occasions in the 1960s and 1970s and then again one final time in the 1990s before serving as head of state from 1993 to 2000.

In all, he was prime minister of seven different governments, serving five separate stints in the post.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a statement that Demirel had left "deep marks on Turkish political history" with his contribution to the country's development.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu declared three days of national mourning for Demirel, with a state funeral ceremony to take place in Ankara on Friday and the burial of his body in his home Isparta region on Saturday.

Demirel ruled the modern Turkish state longer than anyone else as president and prime minister, with the exception of Ismet Inonu, the second president and right hand man of its founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.