Turkish president talks man out of suicide on Istanbul bridge

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan used his celebrated rhetorical skills to save a life on Friday, preventing a man from jumping off Istanbul's Bosphorus Bridge.

The man was apparently preparing to jump to his death when Erdogan's motorcade was passing over the bridge linking Europe with Asia, after Friday prayers.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's bodyguard tries to convince Vezir Cakras over the Bosporus Bridge in Istanbul, on Friday, December 25, 2015. Photo: AP

News footage showed Erdogan's bodyguards bringing the sobbing man, who appeared to be in his early 30s, to talk to him through the window of his car. After a few moments, the man can be seen kissing Erdogan's hand.

Presidential bodyguards escort the man away from the railing. Photo: AFP

The man was then escorted to safety, the Dogan news agency reported.

It said police had been trying for almost two hours to talk the man out of committing suicide after he abandoned his car on the bridge and climbed over the side railing.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, takes Vezir Cakras by hand while speaking on his mobile phone inside his car stationed over the Bosporus Bridge in Istanbul. Photo: AP

He has long been suffering from depression due to family problems, Dogan said.

The iconic bridge spanning the Bosphorus at a height of 64 metres (211 feet) is a frequent suicide spot.