Turgut Özal (1927-1993) was prime minister of Turkey from 1983 to 1989 and president from 1989 to 1993. A former World Bank official, he oversaw deregulation of the Turkish economy and the strengthening of the private sector. His tenure was marked by his support for the U.S.-led coalition that invaded Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War and by domestic conflict with Kurdish separatists. He died of a heart attack while still in office. Circumstances of his death were suspicious, and his body was later exhumed to determine if he had been poisoned. The issue was unresolved.
Özal was interviewed on March 26, 1991, in Durham, by Professors Bruce Kuniholm and Ole Holsti of Duke University and Bulent Gultekin of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. In this interview, they discuss Özal’s relationship with President George H.W. Bush, his founding of the Motherland Party (ANAP), and the changing role of the president in Turkey.