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Archive for Friday, May 19, 2006

Former prime minister hospitalized after stroke

May 19, 2006

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— Former Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit was in serious condition at an Ankara military hospital after suffering a stroke, the state-owned Anatolia news agency reported Thursday.

The 81-year-old politician, who fell ill late Wednesday, was taken into surgery after being rushed by ambulance to the hospital, the news agency said.

Ecevit, who was premier five times - the last time from 1999 to 2002 - suffered a crushing defeat in parliamentary elections in 2002.

Voters held Ecevit responsible for an economic crisis in 2001 that saw millions of layoffs. His ailing health also led to a loss of public confidence.

More recently, Ecevit has been praised for capturing Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan in 1999 in Kenya and for leading Muslim Turkey to become an official candidate for European Union membership.

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