Turkish PM back in form after surgery

Turkish PM back in form after surgery

On Tuesday, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had a full program, addressing party loyalists in parliament, meeting with the Tunisian foreign minister as well as the head of a European parliamentary assembly, holding a telephone conversation with Iraq's prime minister and delivering a speech at a local administrators' conference, Today's Zaman reported.

In between, the prime minister called in the journalists who cover him for an impromptu chat and imparted some information about his health.

"Thank God, it is getting better every day," he said. "God willing, our (work) intensity will resume in mid-February or in the beginning of March."

On Nov. 26, Erdoğan, 57, underwent laparoscopic surgery to remove what a physician later said were non-cancerous intestinal polyps, disappearing from public life for weeks. The surgery was kept secret from the public and his aides remained tightlipped for days.

It took the normally tireless prime minister three weeks to return to work and even then, details of his schedule were scant, leaving many Turks wondering about his health.

The potential implications of any health issue are big since Erdoğan, 57, has loomed large over this mostly Muslim NATO ally. Under his leadership in the past decade, Turkey has boosted economic growth, raised its international profile and has become a source of inspiration for some regional activists who have helped oust autocratic leaders through popular uprisings.

Erdoğan, who spearheads Turkey's blend of religious piety and democratic politics, leads with a tight grip and there are questions about whether his party would weaken without him, and whether the country would pursue the same assertive, often brash foreign policy.

Erdoğan has set ambitious long-term goals for when Turkey celebrates the centenary of the republic in 2023, including making the country an influential regional actor, one of the top 10 economies of the world and a member of the European Union. The EU bid, however, is stalled for now.

President Abdullah Gül, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Ali Babacan, the deputy prime minister who is credited for the economic boom, are respected figures, but lack the depth of Erdoğan's popular appeal.

Journalists knew something was up on Nov. 28 when nothing showed on Erdoğan's daily schedule.

"There had been one or two occasions when the prime minister had nothing scheduled for the weekend and spent time with his grandchildren," said journalist Ercan Gürses, who covers Erdoğan for NTV television. "But we got suspicious that something was wrong when there was nothing on his agenda for a Monday also - not a single meeting, not one opening."

A brief statement two days after Erdoğan disappeared stated that he had undergone "successful" abdominal surgery on his digestive system. But that only fueled speculation that he had cancer, prompting hospital officials to make a more detailed statement a week later.

Dr. Mehmet Füzün, dean of a university hospital that operated on Erdoğan said that the prime minister had a three-hour surgery to remove polyps in his intestine and that a biopsy revealed that they were not cancerous. Füzün said between 20 and 25 centimeters (8 to 10 inches) of his intestines were removed.

"If we hadn't removed them, perhaps in three or five years time, they could have turned into a serious illness," he said.

On Tuesday, Erdoğan told journalists that he liked to spend weekends in Istanbul, rather than in the capital Ankara, because "that's where my doctors are." A close aide told The Associated Press that Erdoğan was already working "until 11 pm" and would resume foreign visits in March. He spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government rules.

In one of his first appearances after returning to work, Erdoğan admitted that he had lost four kilograms (about 9 pounds) after the surgery.

In 2006, Erdoğan was admitted to the hospital after fainting in his car and being locked inside the armored vehicle when its automatic locking system was accidentally activated by panicked bodyguards. Doctors said at the time his conditions was caused by a combination of intense work and fasting for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Erdoğan is taking up his robust schedule in the same week Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has resumed his weekly television and radio program after a hiatus of seven months due to cancer treatment. The 57-year-old president had a tumor removed from his pelvic region in June and underwent four rounds of chemotherapy from July to September in both Cuba and Venezuela. He has said he is now cancer-free, although he hasn't revealed what type of cancer he had.

Presidents of Kyrgyzstan, Turkey discuss topical co-op issues in call
Presidents of Kyrgyzstan, Turkey discuss topical co-op issues in call
Kyrgyzstan Foreign Minister takes part in meeting of foreign ministers of landlocked countries
Kyrgyzstan Foreign Minister takes part in meeting of foreign ministers of landlocked countries
Issue of restoring operation of Central Asian Unified Energy System under consideration
Issue of restoring operation of Central Asian Unified Energy System under consideration
Loading Bars
2 pilots killed in military helicopter crash in N. Afghanistan
Brazil's COVID-19 death toll nears 140,000
President Ilham Aliyev: Our citizens' life and health is priority for us, despite the economic difficulties caused by pandemic
President Ilham Aliyev: In fact, a dictatorship has been established in Armenia
Azerbaijani President: We urge all countries to refrain from supplying arms to Armenia
President Ilham Aliyev: Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity has never been and will never be a subject of negotiations
President Ilham Aliyev: Negotiations must not be conducted just for the sake of negotiations, they must be target-oriented and meaningful
Azerbaijani President: International sanctions must be imposed on Armenia as an aggressor state
President Ilham Aliyev: To achieve sustainable international peace and security, there must be put an end to occupation
Global coronavirus cases pass 32 mln
President Ilham Aliyev made a speech at general debates of 75th session of United Nations General Assembly in a video format (PHOTO)
16 injured after tanker explosion in Nigeria's economic hub
Kazakhstan's export to China surge despite COVID-19
Presidents of Kyrgyzstan, Turkey discuss topical co-op issues in call
President of Georgia receives Azerbaijani Foreign Minister (PHOTO)
Iran reveals share of free, special economic zones in country's export
Georgia's export of vegetables down year-on-year
Magnitude 4.2 earthquake shakes Istanbul
Azerbaijan’s Agroleasing opens tender to buy services
Kyrgyzstan Foreign Minister takes part in meeting of foreign ministers of landlocked countries
Deputy Minister: Iran's petrochemical production potential spikes
Lavrov: Russia hopes for some new measures to preserve JCPOA
Demand for Azerbaijani AzerGold company’s bonds exceeds supply
Azerbaijan, Georgia interested in peaceful settlement of conflicts in region
Net profits of Georgian commercial banks increase
Azerbaijani FM meets with deputy chairman of Georgian parliament (PHOTO)
Azerbaijani Air Forces conduct combat-training flights (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Timeframe for iron ore exploration in Azerbaijan's Dashkasan revealed
Azerbaijani Ministry of Finance to place state short-term bonds
Georgian Kula company doubles production of dried fruits
Georgia's exports of fruits, nuts soar
Georgia reveals volume of fertilizers exported to Azerbaijan
Azerbaijani minister: Dashkesan iron ore deposit promises great prospects
Azerbaijan plans to export agricultural products to Arab countries soon
Asian Development Bank discloses amount of funds allocated to Azerbaijan
Kazakhstan continues importing more grain, legumes from Turkey
Azerbaijan's State Customs Committee to launch new services for foreign trade participants
Uzbekistan expanding geography of natural uranium exports
Number of migrant workers from Turkey in Georgia edges up
Kazakh political analyst: Azerbaijan - plays important role in Turkic-speaking world
Russia reports over 6,500 new coronavirus cases
Azerbaijan increases import of cars from Georgia
Kazakh import of steel from Turkey down amid COVID-19 global pandemic
Azerbaijani State Customs Committee presents new e-commerce project
Iran provides funding for industrial, mineral projects
Georgia sees increase in export of blueberries
Georgia reveals volume of hazelnuts exported to Azerbaijan
Fitch forecasts moderate dividends from Kazakhstan's KazMunayGas' equity affiliates
Turkmenistan’s Turkmennebit to buy electrical equipment via tender
Diesel imports increases in Georgia
Financing for Uzbek solar power plant construction approved
Azerbaijan's MFA comments on provocative activities of Pashinyan
External debt up in Uzbekistan
Turkmenistan receives Russia's test system for revealing COVID-19
Azerbaijan's Bank BTB kicks off cooperation with Universal Payment Transfer system
The 7th International womEncourage virtual meeting launched with Gold Sponsorship and Digital Partnership of Azercell
Kazakhstan's oil extracting company opens tender to buy accumulators
Cotton harvesting starts in Azerbaijan's Beylagan district
Most popular goods imported to Uzbekistan revealed
Cargo traffic via Turkish Erzurum Airport decreases
Iran to tackle tax evasion
France reports over 1,000 people in ICU due to coronavirus
Azerbaijan, Turkey, Kazakhstan - key players in Turkic-speaking alliance
Iran looks to launch new freeway from Tehran to Karaj
CNG based vehicles could reduce fuel prices in Iran
United to provide COVID-19 tests to customers on San Francisco-Hawaii flights
CSTO resources cannot be used in territorial conflicts - Kazakh expert
Kazakhstan. Spain trade down twofold amid COVID-19
Shekel loses sharply on new lockdown restrictions
Iran hotel construction surges by 70 percent over 7 years
Signs COVID cases rising in Sweden again 'worrying' says PM Lofven
Iran`s Rouhani attends inauguration of several projects via video conference
Azerbaijani minister: Issuance of AzerGold's bonds - one of crucial events in 2020 for capital market (PHOTO)
Foreign Ministry discloses details of meeting of Azerbaijani, Georgian FMs (PHOTO)
Number of Kazakh cizitens sent back from Baku port during COVID-19 revealed
Azerbaijan reveals 133 more COVID-19 recoveries
Azerbaijan expands trade relations with Turkey, Russia during quarantine
Russia increases volume of livestock exports to Turkmenistan
Contract on methanol production in Iran signed
PM: Georgia still remains green state status and safe destination for tourists
LUKOIL-Azerbaijan opens tender on repair work
Bahar Azadi gold coin price still rising in Iran
Death toll from coronavirus pandemic exceeds 25,000 in Iran
Central Bank of Azerbaijan discloses amount of foreign currency bought by local banks
Construction of new oil refinery in Iran starts
Major repairs of Dovletabat-Deryalyk gas pipeline underway in Turkmenistan
Harley books $75 million in fresh restructuring costs, discontinues India operations
President Ilham Aliyev: There is a very high-level partnership between the European Union and Azerbaijan
Baku Stock Exchange holds meeting on issuance of AzerGold's bonds (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan’s Baku International Sea Trade Port discloses total cargo turnover this year
Iran discloses its exports via Jolfa customs
Azerbaijani expert in tourism sector talks about discounts on air tickets
Iran, Malaysia hold talks on preferential trade
FM: Azerbaijan's support for Georgia's position at UN General Assembly essential for us
Mikhail Barkan: Azerbaijan - one of most tolerant countries in world
LafargeHolcim Signs Net Zero Pledge with Science-Based Targets
Turkmen Akymly-Ugur service company announces production volumes
Turkmen service company plans to expand its export geography
Geostat reveals volume of vegetables exported by Georgia to Azerbaijan
SOFAZ expects no changes in its foreign currency portfolio
All news