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Is Erdogan’s Communications Directorate failing him?

Fancy buildings and growing budgets at Turkey's Communications Directorate have failed to improve Erdogan’s global image. Growing rumors about his health and discussions over possible transition figures are a red flag for Turkey’s economic and political welfare. 
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends a meeting with Russian President in Sochi on Sept. 29, 2021.

Steven Cook published a piece in Foreign Policy about how Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is too sick to continue his job, discussing who might be the potential replacement. This piece, published earlier this month, generated both international and domestic reactions. Ankara's Communications Directorate launched a campaign on all social, print and visual media outlets about how young, fit and healthy Erdogan is after all.

The day after Cook’s piece, Communications Director Fahrettin Altun posted a video from his Twitter account showing Erdogan playing basketball with his colleagues. He announced a longer version of this game would be shared from Erdogan’s official account. For those who are not on social media, national television channels posted clips focusing on Erdogan’s love for sports and his career as a soccer player. Pro-government journalists penned detailed columns recounting the details of the ball game. All these efforts have magnified the questions Cook raised about Erdogan’s physical health.

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