From Ankara, the Capital of Turkey, comes a report that, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has suspended election campaigning after he fell ill during a live TV interview in which the broadcast was abruptly brought to a halt.
After a 20-minute break, he returned to say he had “serious stomach flu” after two days of intense campaigning.
Several Journalists were seated around President Erdogan when he fell ill during the live broadcast on Tuesday evening on pro-government channels Ulke TV and Kanal 7.
After one of the interviewers asked a question, the camera showed the Journalist looking increasingly alarmed before the screen went blank.
Eventually Erdogan returned to explain that he had earlier considered cancelling the programme. “Of course, we sometimes encounter such situations amid such busy work.”
Within hours of the broadcast, speculation appeared on some social media accounts outside Turkey that Erdogan had suffered a heart attack.
Erdogan’s Head of Communications Fahrettin Altun took to social media to “categorically reject such baseless claims” about the President’s health, tweeting screen shots of the accounts spreading the allegations.
Erdogan, 69, is reportedly facing his toughest election campaign so far.
The main opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu has been chosen to run for a group of six political parties.
He was among a number of opposition leaders to wish the President a speedy recovery.
Latest polls suggest a close race between the two men and give Kilicdaroglu a good chance of victory in elections on 14 May, with a possible Presidential run-off two weeks afterward.
President Erdogan initially canceled three appearances in central Anatolia on Wednesday, saying he had been advised to stay home by Doctors.
He then canceled his scheduled events on Thursday, too, including the opening of Turkey’s first nuclear power station at Akkuyu on the Mediterranean coast.
Akkuyu’s four nuclear reactors, largely owned by Russian firm Rosatom, have taken several years to build and the opening had been timed to coincide with the election.
Instead, both Erdogan and Russia’s Vladimir Putin will attend the inauguration online.
Erdogan has been in power for the past 21 years and has reportedly fallen ill before during a live TV interview.