Jul 24 2019

Where is Erdoğan? Turks wonder

Turkey’s social media is abuzz with speculation over the whereabouts of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as the president, normally ever-present on television screens making speeches and meeting dignitaries, has not been seen in public for a week.

The rumours spiked after Arab and Israeli news outlets, each citing the other, reported that Erdoğan had died of a heart attack and his death had been kept secret. The reports originated from Alraees News, an Arabic web site, the Greek City Times said

Balamir Göktuğ, a columnist at the Turkish newspaper Günboyu, said on Tuesday that he had asked his sources at the Presidential Palace where Erdoğan was and whether he was on holiday, but had not received a clear response. The columnist also said Erdoğan had postponed a meeting with bankers this week.

Presidency’s Communication’s Directorate has issued only written statements since the third anniversary of a coup attempt on July 15. Erdoğan’s official Twitter account on Tuesday shared a message of congratulations to Britain’s incoming prime minister, Boris Johnson. 

Abdülkadir Selvi, a columnist at the Hürriyet newspaper known for his close relationship with Erdoğan, said on Wednesday that Erdoğan had been resting, but would host a meeting with the provincial heads of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Friday.

The columnist said the meeting was critical, as Erdoğan would hint at a new party strategy. Selvi said Erdoğan would not only make changes to his cabinet, but would also alter the paradigm of the ruling party, before starting a new tour of the country.