London Daily

Focus on the big picture.

Turkey's Erdogan Re-Emerges With Putin After Citing Health Issues

Turkey's Erdogan Re-Emerges With Putin After Citing Health Issues

The 69-year-old leader suspended all campaigning for Turkey's pivotal May 14 election after getting sick while conducting a live TV interview on Tuesday evening.

Turkey's ailing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday re-emerged from a two-day absence and spoke by video link with Vladimir Putin at a virtual ceremony unveiling a Russian-built nuclear power plant.

The 69-year-old leader suspended all campaigning for Turkey's pivotal May 14 election after getting sick while conducting a live TV interview on Tuesday evening.

Erdogan said he had developed an upset stomach while hopping between five cities for rallies and public project launches at the start of the week.


Health Minister Fehrettin Koca said on Thursday that Erdogan had "infectious gastroenteritis" -- a short-term illness caused by the inflammation of the digestive tract.

But the scare forced Erdogan to cancel events on Wednesday and then stay at home instead of travelling to the Mediterranean coast for Thursday's grand opening of Turkey's first nuclear power plant.

The video appearance represented Erdogan's effort to project health and vigour at one of the more vulnerable moments of his two-decade rule.

But he looked wan and visibly frail as he addressed Putin and the nation from behind his presidential desk.

"Our country has risen to the league of nations with nuclear power, albeit after a 60-year delay," Erdogan said in prepared remarks.

'Disinformation'


Erdogan is known for his love of campaigning and embrace of political fights.

Polls suggest either that he is running neck-and-neck or losing against opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu in Turkey's most momentous election in decades.

His Islamic-rooted party's control of parliament through an alliance with a far-right group is also under threat.

Erdogan had used his rallies to launch fierce attacks at the opposition and portray himself as a man who gets the job done.

That image has been shaken -- and his office is fighting back.

The president's powerful media director Fahrettin Altun posted screen shots on Twitter of Chinese state media and some popular accounts speculating about Erdogan's condition being more serious than officially reported.

"We categorically reject such baseless claims regarding President Erdogan's health," Altun wrote.

"No amount of disinformation can dispute the fact that the Turkish people stand with their leader and Erdogan and his AK Party are set to win the May 14 elections."

Guarded Secret


Rumours about Erdogan's health have been circulating since he underwent two gastrointestinal surgeries in 2011 and 2012.

The operations left him with a slight hitch in his gait that appears to have fed some of the social media speculation.

Turkey does not publicise the results of its leaders' health evaluations and it is illegal to "insult the president".

Thousands of people have been prosecuted for the offence -- punishable by either a fine or a jail term of up to four years.

Turkey's main opposition leaders all quickly tweeted messages wishing Erdogan a speedy recovery.

Erdogan's video linkup with Putin unveiled a project that Russia began building during a chill in Ankara's relations with its Western allies in 2018

Construction of the Akkuyu plant was complicated by sanctions the West imposed on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

"Yes, we have certain logistical problems," Akkuyu plant director Sergei Butskikh told reporters on the eve of the launch.

"The transportation routes are getting longer. Not all of the shipping companies are able to work with us. So here yes, we feel the sanctions," he added.

"But this has not affected the quality of the plant's construction."

Erdogan has been one of the few world leaders to maintain good relations with Putin by refusing to sign up to Western sanctions on Russia and trying to mediate an end to the war.

Newsletter

Related Articles

London Daily
0:00
0:00
Close
Britain’s Refugee Visa Rules Stranding Children in War Zones
UK Elections Predict ‘Electoral Extinction’ for PM Sunak’s Conservative Party
Italian Activist Ilaria Salis Returns Home After Election to European Parliament
Good morning!
England Faces Serbia in Euro Opener with Defensive Concerns
Dermatologist Warns Against Sunbed Usage
Fake Pro-Reform UK Social Accounts and Their Influence on Elections
UK Man Jailed for Non-Consensual Condom Removal
Reform UK Surpasses Conservatives in Historic Poll
US, Britain, Canada Accuse Russia of Interference in Moldova’s Election
Taylor Swift Fans Create Seismic Activity in Edinburgh
Sunak Aide Under Investigation for Election Bet
Labour Leader Starmer Focuses on Wealth Creation for Upcoming UK Elections
G7 to Use Frozen Russian Assets for $50 Billion Ukraine Aid
Anti-Israel Irish MEP Clare Daly LOST her seat in the EU Election
Johnson & Johnson Settles Talc Safety Claims for $700 Million
EU Urged to Welcome Skilled Russians to Weaken Putin
EU Elections Overview: Far-Right Gains and Major Political Shifts
Israel Rescues Four Hostages from Gaza
Emmanuel Macron Calls for Snap Election
Jordan Bardella: Young Far-Right Leader Poised for Future Political Influence in France
World's Oldest Privately Owned Book Auctioned for $3.8 Million
Animal Rights Activists Deface King Charles' Portrait in Protest
Dutch Military Intel Uncovers Extensive Chinese Cyber Espionage
Turkish Student Arrested for Using AI to Cheat in University Exam
Rise in Dengue and Other Mosquito-Borne Diseases in Europe Due to Climate Change
EU Elections Overview: Far-Right Gains and Major Political Shifts
Far-Right National Rally Dominates France's EU Vote
Macron Calls Snap Legislative Elections After Far-Right Victory
Far-Right Gains Significantly in EU Election
UK Job Market Shows Signs of Recovery
Orban’s Fidesz Party Wins Majority in Hungary’s EU Elections as New Challenger Emerges
Meloni's Far-Right Party Wins European Elections in Italy
Key Insights from the European Union Elections
European Union Elections and Rise of Far-Right Parties
England Loses Over 260,000 Social Rent Homes in a Decade
Campaigners Urge Government to Block Shein's FTSE Listing
First NHS AI-Run Physiotherapy Clinic Launches This Year
British TV Presenter Michael Mosley Found Dead on Greek Island
Ukrainian Forces Claims First Strike on Russia's Su-57 Fighter Jet
Macron Dissolves Parliament and Calls Snap Elections
Russia Adds Yulia Tymoshenko to Wanted List
UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron Tricked by Hoax Caller Posing as Former Ukrainian President
Kate Middleton's Absence from Colonel's Review Due to Chemotherapy
UK Foreign Secretary Deceived by Prank Video Call
Sunak Criticised Over D-Day Exit in BBC Debate
Rishi Sunak Apologizes for Leaving D-Day Commemoration Early
UK Woman Sentenced After Causing Fatal Crash While Sending Selfies
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen Assaulted in Central Copenhagen
UN to Add Israel to Human Rights Blacklist
×