Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan canceled his election appearances for a third day Friday after falling ill with what officials described as an intestinal infection.
Erdogan, who has ruled Türkiye for two decades as prime minister and then president, is seeking a third presidential term in May 14 elections. He had been due to appear at a bridge opening and a political rally in the southern city of Adana, but his schedule changed to show he would attend the opening ceremony via video link.
Erdogan became ill during a TV interview on Tuesday evening with what Health Minister Fahrettin Koca later said was a “gastrointestinal infection.” His election rallies planned for Wednesday and Thursday were canceled.
He looked pale Thursday as he inaugurated a nuclear power plant via video in his first public appearance since his illness. During his Friday video address Erdogan seemed well as he spoke for about 10 minutes from behind a desk.
Other officials sought to dispel concerns over the 69-year-old leader’s health ahead of the presidential and parliamentary elections. Recent polls showed a slight lead for Erdogan’s main challenger amid an economic downturn and a February earthquake that killed more than 50,000 people.
Erdogan, who underwent intestinal surgery in 2011, has ruled Türkiye since 2003, first as prime minister and as president since 2014. He campaigned hard in recent weeks, attending several events across the country every day.