Heart bypass for Talat

TURKISH Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat was in an Istanbul hospital yesterday for major heart surgery after tests showed he was suffering from a blocked artery.

The bypass was Talat’s second heart operation in two days. On Sunday he was admitted to the prestigious Florence Nightingale Hospital in Istanbul after a routine checkup showed a narrowing of one of his heart’s main arteries, one of his press spokesmen told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

“The doctors carried out an angioplasty on Sunday, and yesterday decided it was necessary for him to have a heart bypass,” the spokesman said, adding that Talat had not felt unwell before booking in for a checkup.

Talat was in Istanbul for a number of engagements, including a conference at the city’s Bogazici University and a meeting with Turkish Businessmen’s organising TUSIAD.

“He decided to have a checkup while in Istanbul, during which it emerged that an angiogram would be necessary. It was while they were carrying out the angioplasty that doctors discovered the problem was more serious than they originally thought,” the spokesman said.

Yesterday, Talat’s wife Oya was at his bedside and told officials in Cyprus her husband’s operation had been a success and that he was recovering well. She also said Talat was expected to remain in Istanbul for a further 10 days to recuperate.

Fifty-three year-old Talat, who is said not to have a history of coronary problems, is a keen gardener and is known to take an interest in keeping physically fit. His spokesman said he walked regularly and was careful to stick to a healthy diet. He does not smoke.

Talat’s chief advisor Rasit Pertev described Talat as being “a very energetic and healthy man”.

Another source close to Talat said, “He is normally the kind of person who never takes time off from work because of illness. He is literally never ill”.