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Ozal sees plot behind shooting

By Sam CohenSpecial to The Christian Science Monitor / June 20, 1988



Istanbul

Turkish Premier Turgut Ozal speculated yesterday that a weekend assassination bid against him was an effort to destabilize Turkey and involved more people than just the gunman. Mr. Ozal was giving a speech Saturday when he was slightly wounded by a shot fired by Kartal Demirag. ``There might be greater dimensions to Demirag's attempt to kill me'' Ozal said Sunday. ``This was done professionally. I have the impression that there is some organization behind him.''

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In the 1970s, Mr. Demirag belonged to the youth movement - usually referred to as the ``Grey Wolves'' or the ``Idealists'' - of the ultraright Nationalist Action Party which was banned after the 1980 military coup.

Demirag comes from a small town in central Turkey and served as a teacher in the much-politicized (and polarized) province of Kars, near the Soviet border. Two years ago he stabbed to death a friend during a discussion and was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. He escaped last January.

Circles close to the prime minister believe that the ultra-nationalist or pro-fascist elements inside and outside his party are unhappy with Mr. Ozal's efforts to drive the Party and the Government toward the center and toward a more liberal policy.

[According to the Associated Press, Turkish newspapers said Sunday that seven underground groups claimed responsibility for the assassination bid. The claims, which included Marxist-Leninist, rightist, and Muslim factions, could not be confirmed independently.]