Turkish authorities launched legal proceedings Wednesday against 30 people who used the Twitter hashtag "olmus," which roughly translates to "is said to be dead," regarding President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The olmus hashtag was briefly trending on Turkish Twitter. The 30 people under investigation for its usage face legal ramifications for the spread of "disinformation and manipulative content" and insulting Erdogan, according to a police statement.
Rumors of ill health dog Erdogan
Erdogan, 67, faces increased speculation about his health. In a recent video, Erdogan appeared unstable on his feet and had difficulty walking. During a holiday message in July, he looked unwell and his speech was slurred at times.
Presidential aides hoped to tamp down rumors about Erdogan's health by posting videos Wednesday showing the president walking more quickly following a flight from Istanbul to Ankara.
Last month, when similar rumors of ill health popped up, Erdogan's communications office shared a video of the president playing basketball.
No shows prompt health rumors
The official Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency also issued footage of Erdogan meeting in the Turkish capital, Ankara, with Baghdad Amreyev, the head of a council of Turkic-speaking central Asian states.
This latest wave of speculation regarding Erdogan's health comes after he did not show up at a ceremony for his Justice and Development Party to mark 19 years in power Wednesday.
On Sunday, Erdogan met US President Joe Biden in Rome on the sidelines of the G20 summit. He had been scheduled to travel on to Glasgow for the COP26 climate conference, but he canceled those plans, allegedly over a security protocol dispute.
ar/nm (AFP, AP)