- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made his first public appearance after a three-day break due to illness.
- Two weeks before the presidential and parliamentary elections, Erdogan spoke at an event on domestically developed defense technology in Istanbul.
- Erdogan was forced to temporarily withdraw from the heated phase of the election campaign on Tuesday.
The 69-year-old had previously cut short a television interview due to stomach problems. Until then, he had completed about three public appointments per day.
In the May 14 elections, Erdogan, as the representative of the conservative Islamist Justice and Development Party, should have feared re-election after 20 years in power. However, opinion polls put his strongest rival, opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, at least on an equal footing. It is the joint candidate of a coalition of six parties from various camps and is also supported by the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party.
In addition, Erdogan was also expected to take part in an election event in the secular stronghold of Izmir on Saturday – a day before Kilicdaroglu was due to appear in the Aegean city.
Concerns about election integrity
Meanwhile, the Republican People’s Party – the leading party in Kilicdaroglu’s opposition bloc – announced that it would hire up to half a million people as election observers. CHP politician Oğuz Can Saliçi, who is in charge of the arrangements, told reporters in Istanbul that there were “serious concerns” about the security of the elections.
Due to the fact that a large part of the Turkish media is directly or indirectly controlled by Erdoğan, and thus there is no real freedom of information, foreign observers have also expressed concerns about the fairness of the elections.
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