ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Officials say President Abdullah Gul is in the hospital, receiving treatment for a recurring ear problem that forced him to cut short a visit to Kyrgyzstan.

Murat Tuncer, head physician of Ankara's Hacettepe Hospital said Friday the president is suffering from an ailment linked to both inner ears and would remain hospitalized "for a while." However, Tuncer says the president's condition was improving.

The 61-year-old Gul returned to Turkey from Kyrgyzstan on Thursday, earlier than scheduled.

He underwent ear surgery in 2006, when he was the country's foreign minister, which kept him grounded and forced him to cancel several foreign visits. The problem recurred in 2008, again forcing him to stay off airplanes.

Gul's role is largely ceremonial but he has the power to veto legislation and appointments.