A stomach ailment has forced President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to campaign by video link
A stomach ailment has forced President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to campaign by video link AFP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stayed home for a third day Friday following a stomach ailment that has interrupted his campaign to extend his rule to beyond 20 years.

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

Turkey's health minister said Erdogan was suffering from gastroenteritis.

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

Erdogan has been trying to compensate by attending events by 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.

Erdogan 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 Erdogan has used to boost his image in the runup to his toughest election test yet.

The events are aired live on TV and then dominate discussions in pro-government media which control much of Turkey's airwaves and print.

Erdogan 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 Kilicdaroglu.

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

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