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Ailing Erdoğan spends third day away from campaign trail

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stayed home for a third day on Friday following a stomach ailment that has interrupted his campaign for re-election as head of state, Agence France-Presse reported.

The 69-year-old leader cleared his busy schedule of public appearances after falling ill on live TV on Tuesday night.

Turkey’s health minister said Erdoğan was suffering from gastroenteritis.

The digestive problem is easily treated and usually clears up in a few days but it has upturned Erdoğan’s busy campaign schedule in the run-up to Turkey’s most important election in generations on May 14.

Erdoğan has been trying to compensate by attending events via video link.

He and Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared jointly at a video conference on Thursday, inaugurating a nuclear power plant a Kremlin-linked company helped Turkey build on the southern coast.

Erdoğan scheduled another video link with the southern city of Adana unveiling a new bridge for Friday.

Both events are the types of public launches that Erdoğan has used to boost his image in the run-up to his toughest election test yet.

The events are aired live on TV and then dominate discussions in the pro-government media that controls much of Turkey’s airwaves and print.

Erdoğan had scheduled events in five cities over two days before getting sick.

This has created more room for national channels to air rallies by secular opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.

Polls show the two men probably heading to a runoff election on May 28.

But Kılıçdaroğlu enjoys a lead in most public opinion survey and still hopes to secure a first-round victory.

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