Less than three weeks before Turkey's crucial election, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan canceled his scheduled engagements on Wednesday owing to a stomach illness, freeing up Thursday's schedule a few hours later.
The 69-year-old leader made his statement during a heated campaign in what was perhaps Turkey's most significant post-Ottoman election.
On Wednesday, Erdogan was scheduled to make three visits in the districts of central Anatolia.
However, he said that Vice President Fuat Oktay will take his place.
According to the recommendation of our physicians, I will relax at home today, Erdogan said on his official Twitter account.
We will go on with our program starting tomorrow, with God's blessing, he stated.
I wish all of my compatriots health, happiness, and peace on this special day.
A few hours later, the vice-president of the governing AKP party, Erkan Kandemir, said that Erdogan had also canceled his Thursday schedule. He was scheduled to open Akkuyu on Turkey's southern coast, the country's first nuclear power plant.
Erdogan's campaign itinerary for this week called for one of the major events to be the opening of the Russian-built facility.
Erdogan has been working nonstop to prolong his two-decade winning run and turn around a polling decline.
He is competing with secular opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu for the nomination, and he must deal with the twin blows of a raging economic crisis and the aftermath of a devastating earthquake that killed more than 50,000 people in February.
But he ended a live television interview late on Tuesday after becoming ill as it was being broadcast.
– 'OH WOW' –
On Tuesday, his scheduled broadcast appearance started more than ninety minutes late and, ten minutes into the program, went to commercial.
When the show ended, the camera shook, and the reporter who was asking the question got out of his chair.
Off camera, a voice exclaiming, “Oh wow,” could be heard.
About 15 minutes later, Erdogan came back and apologized for becoming ill.
“The task was difficult yesterday and today. I had a stomach sickness as a result,” Erdogan stated.
“At one point, I pondered if the cancellation of the program might be misinterpreted. But we made a vow. I beg your pardon, and that of our viewers.
A few minutes later, the Turkish president abruptly terminated the show with an ashen expression.
Erdogan has generally been in good health despite having stomach surgery in 2012.
On Tuesday, opposition leader Kilicdaroglu, who is 74 years old, was one of the first lawmakers to wish Erdogan a speedy recovery.
Immediately after the show aired, Kilicdaroglu tweeted, “I convey my best wishes to Mr. Erdogan.”
Meral Aksener, the head of the nationalist movement, and other influential figures in Kilicdaroglu's six-party opposition coalition also tweeted their support.