Ankara (Caasimada Online) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, 69, unexpectedly canceled his scheduled appearances on Wednesday and Thursday, citing a stomach illness.
This development occurs less than three weeks ahead of Turkey’s pivotal election, which many political experts consider the most significant since the fall of the Ottoman Empire.
During a heated campaign season, Erdogan revealed on his official Twitter account that he would be resting at home under doctor’s orders.
He had initially planned to attend three events in central Anatolian provinces on Wednesday, but Vice President Fuat Oktay stepped in as his replacement.
Later, Erkan Kandemir, vice-president of the ruling AKP party, announced that Erdogan would cancel his Thursday plans.
The President was expected to inaugurate Turkey’s first nuclear power station, the Russian-built Akkuyu facility, on the southern coast.
This event was supposed to be a highlight of Erdogan’s campaign this week.
Erdogan’s struggles in Polls
As Erdogan strives to reverse a decline in polls and maintain his 20-year election-winning streak, he finds himself in a tight race with secular opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu.
The Turkish leader is grappling with a severe economic crisis and the aftermath of a massive February earthquake, which resulted in more than 50,000 fatalities.
On Tuesday, Erdogan had to end a live television interview prematurely due to his illness.
The interview was already delayed by more than 90 minutes and was interrupted by a commercial break just 10 minutes in.
Erdogan leave live TV interview
Erdogan returned around 15 minutes later to apologize for the incident, explaining, “Yesterday and today were hard work. That’s why I got a stomach flu.”
Though Erdogan underwent gastrointestinal surgery in 2012, he has generally been in good health.
After the television incident, numerous politicians, including Turkey’s 74-year-old opposition leader Kilicdaroglu, wished Erdogan a speedy recovery.
Nationalist leader Meral Aksener and other prominent members of Kilicdaroglu’s six-party opposition alliance also expressed their support through tweets.