An email leaked by the security analysis company Stratfor said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has terminal cancer and just two years to live.
Cancer rumors started after Erdogan had surgery on his lower intestine in November, but did not gain momentum until the Taraf newspaper reported the email leak on Tuesday.
The email, released by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks as part of a massive leak of the Stratfor’s correspondence, said doctors had removed a 20-cm (8-inch) part of Erdogan’s colon during the first operation on Nov. 26.
“The prognosis is not looking good, though. The surgeon said they were estimating 2 years for him,” the 10 December 2011 email said.
The report was cited Faruk Demir, who obtained the information from an “old classmate friend” of the lead surgeon who operated on Erdogan.
According to al-Arabiya, Stratfor characterized Demir as a former National Security Council official, adviser to Erdogan, and an energy expert.
However, Demir told reporters the report was a lie and that all he knew about the issue is what he read in the media.
For its part, the Taraf newspaper quoted the chief surgeon who operated on Erdogan as saying the cancer report was “a complete lie.”
Another doctor who observed the surgery said Erdogan did not have cancer and "there was no tumor," the paper said.
Erdogan's office has dismissed the report as "speculation and gossip" and insists he is in "good health."
Erdogan, 58, won a third consecutive term at an election last June and dominates Turkish politics. He is widely seen as the force that keeps the ruling-AK Party falling into factionalism.
He helped found the AK party in 2001 after the Islamist party that he had belonged to was banned.
Erdogan's critics charge his administration and bellicose style has managed to single-handedly ruin relations with many European Union states, Israel, and Iraq.