Since 2019, Turkish experts, journalists and pollsters have been covering the Turkish presidential elections scheduled for 2023. This is partly due to the fact that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) suffered humiliating defeats in the last municipal elections in its major polling stations. Turkey , including Istanbul.
Regular polls from these elections reveal that the AKP's popularity is not high, even if it retains control of Turkey's political institutions and the media. It seems that Recep Tayyip Erdogan is not very popular, especially among young people.
The Turkish president may indeed be vulnerable before 2023 – just not necessarily the way most people think. “There are indications that he may be too ill to run for re-election,” the foreign policy review Foreign Policy said in early October.
One month later, the non-existent rumors about the death of the Turkish president brought the issue of his health back to the forefront, following the scenarios that have been circulating frequently in recent years.
The videos in question
In recent months, a series of videos have surfaced in which the Turkish leader did not appear to be doing well. Some of them are not so clear, but together they raise some obvious questions about Erdogan's health.
In a video clip, for example, the president appears to need the help of his wife and an assistant as he stands in front of a series of stairs.
In another, he appears to be confused and having difficulty walking in the mausoleum of Turkish founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
And in another video that garnered much interest last July, Erdogan appears to be swallowing and confusing his words during a televised address to members of the Justice and Development Party.
At times – according to Foreign Policy – he looks quite sad. “Along with this picture, there are rumors about the president's health – including stories claiming that he is experiencing increasing forgetfulness, bouts of respiratory problems, confusion, vomiting and has had a pacemaker implanted.”
According to these allegations, the Turkish president has increased the number of people taking care of him, reduced his meetings with the press and is taking painkillers before public events.
Foreign Policy adds, however, that “these rumors are more often made by people who are outside Turkey or do not belong to his immediate entourage, so the allegations of Erdogan's impending death may be mere gossip. After all, in other videos, it looks absolutely good. “
“He is dead”
Such a rumor circulated on Wednesday morning, causing unrest in the neighbor.
It all seems to have started with a video of journalist Fatih Tezcan, who said that “you will learn some news that will make you sad, but stand strong”, without making any clarifications.
Opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) lawmaker Aikut Erdogan also wrote on his twitter account about Erdogan's health:
“The messages on WhatsApp about Erdogan's health are coming and going. My political life has been a struggle with Erdogan… I have been wronged in dozens of lawsuits that Erdogan has brought against me. “My only wish is for Erdogan to enter the election process in good health and to be accountable to his people at the polls.”
The hashtag # ölmüş (dead) was also circulating on social media, with Turkish authorities launching prosecutions a few hours later against thirty users who posted “false and unfounded” messages.
“It was found that the hashtag #dead was circulated on the social network Twitter, with references to our president,” the General Directorate of Security of our neighboring country said in a statement.
“Under the above hashtag, 30 people were identified who shared misinformation content (…) and the necessary proceedings were initiated against them,” he concluded.
However, despite the government's relentless efforts to convince that what is being said and written is nothing but non-existent rumors, in Turkey and the outside world the feeling is that something is wrong with Erdogan's health.
The first statement
It is noted that Erdogan's last public appearance took place on Sunday, during the G20 summit in Rome. The President of Turkey canceled his participation in the UN International Conference on Climate Change (COP26) in Glasgow, citing security reasons.
After the intense gossip, he himself came back and answered questions from journalists, wanting to send the message that he is in excellent health.
However, he refrained from commenting and limited himself to statements regarding the 19 years since he took office.
“Since the day we took over the government of the country, we have made great efforts in the development of its infrastructure and we continue without retreating from this goal. “Along with the effort at home, we are making the same effort abroad for the positions of our country,” he said, according to Anadolu .