Last week, Turkish prime Minister Tayyip Erdo?an denied rumors he was suffering from cancer.
Which begs the question: why did he remain silent about the rumors for so long?
Ending two-month-long speculations about his health, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an denied rumors that he is suffering from cancer during an interview with Turkish journalist Mehmet Ali Birand last week.
The idea that Erdo?an has cancer and has been keeping it secret have been circulating since the prime minister underwent surgery on Nov. 26, after which he removed himself from the public eye for more than a month. However, the prime minister has cleared up such speculation, declaring that he is not suffering from cancer and did not undergo chemotherapy. While some say Erdo?an should have made this statement before, without giving way to speculation, some others say the prime minister purposely kept silent about his health to separate his supporters from those pretending to support him.
Milliyet’s Can Dündar said that although he respects Erdo?an’s decision to keep his medical situation secret after his surgery, he thinks that because Erdo?an is the prime minister of the country, the situation of his health influences the man on the street, the course of domestic and foreign politics and the future of the country and so he could have been more transparent about his health from the very beginning. Dündar said the only way Erdo?an could have dealt with the emergence of speculation about his health would have been through a policy of transparency through which Erdo?an could tell the public about his medical situation, but he did not do this.
“He insistently kept his silence on this issue to the very end. By following a policy of secrecy, he also made his inner circle and press advisers keep silent on the issue. What happened as a result? Rumors about Erdo?an’s health began and spread everywhere.” Dündar wishes Erdo?an had made the statement about his health seven weeks ago to prevent all the gossip and debates about his health. He also addressed the rivals of the prime minister and told them to give up making plans for the future over Erdo?an’s health and become a more effective opposition. “In brief, let’s wish Erdo?an a healthy life and stop all this unnecessary talk about his health,” said Dündar.
Yeni Akit’s Hasan Karakaya regrets the fact that some circles who seemingly love Erdo?an, believing the rumors about his health, began to analyze who would assume the leadership of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) after he was gone or who would be the next prime minister and president. “Now, it turns out that Erdo?an does not have cancer, he did not have chemotherapy and he will even resume his visits abroad in March. What will they [those who were so eager to see Erdo?an have cancer] do now? They will either continue with the same attitude or make a U-turn back to Erdo?an’s side. I think during the two-month period [that Erdo?an kept silent about his health], he made an assessment and judgment about those who really support him and those who seem to support him but are ready to turn their backs on him at any time,” Karakaya said.
I’m not sure what to make of this denial. On one hand, a Turkish blogger claimed a respected authority in academia had told him the prime minister was expected to start chemotherapy last month. On the other hand, the notoriously unreliable DEBKA quoted “Western intelligence sources” as saying Erdogan had been diagnosed with colorectal (colon) cancer.
In any event, it’s got to be painful finding out those you thought were your friends have turned against you while you’re down.
Must feel like a kick to the groin.