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Erdoğan’s epilepsy confirmed by ex-confidant in damning pre-election video

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gives a press conference during an agreements signing ceremony with Serbian President after their meeting at the Presidential Complex in Ankara, on January 18, 2022. Adem ALTAN / AFP

In a jaw-dropping exposé, Ali Yeşildağ of the influential Yeşildağ family and a former associate of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has confirmed that the president suffers from epilepsy, claiming that those privy to this closely guarded secret have personally profited from Erdoğan’s generosity.

Published by investigative journalist Cevheri Güven on Tuesday, the video is the fifth in an expected series of seven, landing a potential blow to Erdoğan’s administration just days ahead of elections on Sunday.

Yeşildağ, recounting his experiences with Erdoğan during the president’s stint with his brother Hasan in Pınarhisar Prison in 1999, claims he personally provided for Erdoğan’s needs, including books and other essentials.

According to Yeşildağ, Erdoğan’s epilepsy has been a significant influence on both his personal and political decisions. He alleges that Erdoğan requires a companion with knowledge of his condition at all times, influencing the choice of Pınarhisar Prison for its two-person cells.

Yeşildağ further contends that Erdoğan’s private secretary, Hasan Dağcı, is gay and has maintained his position due to his familiarity with Erdoğan’s condition. He also implies that Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmaker Ahmet Hamdi Çamlı and his nephew Ali Erdoğan, who are among the few privy to Erdoğan’s health secret, have reaped benefits from their knowledge. Çamlı, previously Erdoğan’s driver, stirred controversy when he was named a parliamentary candidate in the 2015 elections.

Yeşildağ criticizes Erdoğan’s frequent use of crude language, attributing his volatile temper to his medical condition. He questions Erdoğan’s choice of derogatory terms, suggesting that as a leader, he should set a better example for the younger generations.

Yeşildağ also posits that Erdoğan’s absence from Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral was due to his reluctance to travel without a companion aware of his condition, given the protocol requiring world leaders to travel alone without security detail on certain occasions.

The video concludes with Yeşildağ’s assertion that Erdoğan sought treatment for his epilepsy at Hasan Yeşildağ’s Swiss residence, underlining the complex relationship between the two men.

The Yeşildağ family has a longstanding relationship with Erdoğan. The family’s Etiler Ulus Cafe is known as a popular meeting spot for the AKP government and state bureaucracy as well as the Erdoğan family.

Released in the run-up to Sunday’s parliamentary and presidential elections, the video series could destabilize Erdoğan’s administration, which is already under strain from an economic crisis and high inflation.

The preceding videos have ignited public discourse, alleging corruption and illicit activities involving President Erdoğan and his inner circle, including claims of the president amassing a personal fortune running into several hundred billion dollars through illicit means.

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