Turkish strongman Erdogan tests positive for COVID

Turkey also reported 248 COVID fatalities on Friday.

By Associated Press

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has tested positive for COVID-19, he tweeted Saturday.

“Today my wife and I tested positive for COVID-19 with mild symptoms. Thankfully, we’re experiencing slight symptoms that we have learned is the omicron variant,” he wrote. “We are on duty. We will continue to work at home. We look forward to your prayers.”

Erdogan, 67, sent the message after appearing via videolink at a tunnel-opening ceremony from Istanbul, having canceled his appearance in person.

The president showed no signs of illness in his televised appearance. Erdogan’s wife Emine tweeted that they hoped to get through their illness together as soon as possible.

The president’s health is a touchy subject in Turkey. Investigations were launched against social media users in November for “manipulative” tweets amid speculation about his health.

Erdogan, a former semi-professional soccer player, underwent surgery on his lower intestine in 2011. He has frequently denied reports that he had cancer and maintains a busy schedule, often giving multiple speeches a day.

Turkey has seen record levels of COVID-19 cases in recent days, with 111,157 cases reported by the Health Ministry on Friday. In late December, daily cases stood at about 20,000 but have risen due to the highly transmissible omicron variant.

The country is also seeing a high number of fatalities due to COVID-19, with 248 deaths reported on Friday, a level not seen since October.

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