Turkey launches probe into Twitter posts saying Erdogan died

Authorities initiate legal proceedings against 30 people over series of social media posts

Turkish authorities have initiated legal proceedings against 30 people over a series of Twitter posts suggesting that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had died, a police statement released on Wednesday said.

The statement said the 30 people were being investigated for sharing posts using the hashtag “olmus” in Turkish — which roughly translates as “is said to be dead".

They face legal proceedings for reportedly sharing “disinformation and manipulative content” as well as insulting Mr Erdogan.

“Thirty individuals have been identified and the necessary legal proceedings have been initiated against them,” the police said.

Separately, Mr Erdogan’s lawyers filed a complaint with the Ankara chief prosecutor’s office requesting that offenders be investigated on charges of insulting the president — a crime that carries a prison sentence.

The development comes amid increased speculation concerning the health of the 67-year-old president, who in a recent video seemed to be having trouble standing.

During a holiday message in July, the president appeared unwell while his speech sounded slurred at times.

In a bid to dissipate rumours about Mr Erdogan’s health, presidential aides on Wednesday posted videos on Twitter of him walking more robustly after a plane journey from Istanbul to Ankara.

Last month, the communications directorate released a video showing Mr Erdogan playing basketball to crush rumours that he may be ailing.

“I have spent my political life struggling against Erdogan. My only hope is that Erdogan is fit and healthy at the [next] elections and that he accounts to the people in ballot box,” tweeted opposition legislator Aykut Erdogdu.

Updated: November 03, 2021, 11:06 PM