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Longtime Turkish Leader Demirel Dead At 90

Suleyman Demirel in a 2000 photo

Former Turkish President Suleyman Demirel, who was twice toppled by the military during seven stints at the head of government, died early on June 17, according to a hospital official and Turkish media.

He was 90.

Demirel, who served as prime minister seven times through the 1960s to the 1990s and was president from 1993 to 2000, died at the Guven Hospital in Ankara where he had been undergoing treatment for a respiratory tract infection, a hospital official said.

Born to a farming family in the western Turkish province of Isparta in November 1924, Demirel trained as a civil engineer.

He first came to power in general elections held five years after a 1960 coup, at the head of the Justice Party.

Known as “"Baba", or "Dad," to his fans in Turkey's farming heartland during his years in power, he served during a period of unstable coalitions that was brought to an end when the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), founded by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, came to power in 2002.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP