Turkey prosecutes 30 people for sharing tweets on President Erdogan's health

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By Euronews  with AP, AFP
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a media conference at the G20 summit.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a media conference at the G20 summit.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis

Turkey has launched legal proceedings against 30 people for speculating about the health of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on social media.

The suspects are all being prosecuted for posting tweets about Erdoğan using the hashtag #ölmüş (#dead), according to the Turkish Directorate General of Security.

The authority said in a statement the individuals had shared "disinformation and manipulative content" online.

The suspects were also under investigation for spreading content that "insults or misrepresents" the Turkish President.

"Thirty individuals have been identified, and the necessary legal proceedings have been initiated against them," the directorate said.

"Necessary investigations are carried out about the posts that contain lies, baseless and disinformation and are sent to the judicial authorities."

Separately, Erdoğan's lawyers have also filed a complaint with Ankara's chief prosecutor's office.

There has been increased speculation about Erdoğan's health in recent days after he was recently pictured having difficulty walking.

During a holiday message in July, the 67-year-old president appeared unwell while his speech sounded slurred at times.

But, Turkish presidential aides have been sharing videos on Twitter of Erdoğan to quell rumours of his ill-health.

"Trust the friend, fear the enemy," tweeted the president's communications chief, Fahrettin Altun, alongside a clip of Erdoğan walking more robustly after a plane journey from Istanbul to Ankara.

Erdoğan -- who has been in power for nearly two decades -- underwent serious surgery on his intestines in 2011.

His most recent public appearance was at Sunday's G20 summit in Rome, where the Turkish President met with US President Joe Biden.

Erdoğan cancelled his appearance at the COP26 UN climate conference in Glasgow on Monday, citing "security" reasons.