Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is campaigning for re-election on May 14, canceled his public engagements on Wednesday and Thursday due to an intestinal virus.
"I will rest at home today on the advice of the doctors," the 69-year-old Turkish leader announced on Twitter on Wednesday.
"Unfortunately we will not be able to meet with our brothers from Kirikkale, Yozgat and Sivas today. I beg everyone's forgiveness," he tweeted, listing localities in Central Anatolia where he was scheduled to speak.
The head of state, who has been in power for twenty years, must also give up on Thursday to inaugurate the country's first nuclear power plant in Akkuyu, on the southern coast of Turkey, announced the vice-president of the ruling AKP party, Erkan Kandemir.
“Our president will attend the Akkuyu power station ceremony online,” Kandemir, also responsible for the organization within the AKP party, tweeted on Wednesday evening.
A blow for Mr. Erdogan who had even initially expected the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to inaugurate this plant, built by the Russian Rosatom.
This visit had been denied by the Kremlin, but the Russian leader must deliver a message online.
The president had to interrupt a live television interview on Tuesday evening because of "stomach flu".
After about fifteen minutes, he returned to the antenna, pale complexion and red eyes, apologizing for having been ill.
"Yesterday and today there was a lot of work. Because of that I caught a stomach flu," he had justified.
"At one point, I wondered if it would be bad if we canceled the show. But we had promised. I apologize to you and to your viewers," he added, his features drawn.
The head of state had delivered three campaign speeches before the show, less than 20 days before the presidential and legislative elections that the polls announce as hotly contested.
His main rival, Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, 74, candidate of the National Alliance which brings together six opposition parties, immediately wished a "good recovery" to the head of state.
Wednesday evening during a television interview, Mr. Kiliçadrolu reiterated his wishes: "We belong to the same nation. As soon as I knew (that he was sick, editor's note) I wished him a good recovery via Twitter" .
Several other leaders of the Alliance sent their wishes of recovery to the Turkish president.
“I wish Mr. @RTErdogan to recover soon and wish him a speedy recovery,” tweeted Meral Aksener, president of the Good Party, the second largest party in the opposition coalition.
The head of state, sometimes slowed down, lines up two to three daily meetings for his campaign and during Ramadan he also shared an iftar every evening - the meal for breaking the fast - in a different locality.
He had planned to maintain a high pace of meetings across the country in the home stretch before the double ballot on May 14 for which all the polling institutes are announcing a tight score.
The head of state had initially indicated on Wednesday that he would resume "God willing" his program on Thursday.
The Turkish leader's health had fueled speculation after a large intestine operation at the end of 2011, followed by further surgery the following year.
Mr. Erdogan, then Prime Minister, had publicly denied suffering from colon cancer, explaining that the operations were aimed at removing polyps.
26/04/2023 22:13:12 -- Istanbul (AFP) © 2023 AFP