After footage of Erdogan apparently struggling to walk was posted online, Erdogan’s allies have been forced to deny that Erdogan is suffering from health problems.
Erdogan, 67 years old, was captured in Rome during Sunday’s G-20 summit appearing unsteady on the feet. This led many to speculate about Erdogan’s health and rumours that he died after he failed COP26.
Thirty people are being investigated for “spreading disinformation” after they tweeted about Erdogan using the hashtag “olmus”, which roughly translates to “rumoured dead”.
While the president’s supporters deny there is anything wrong, they posted videos of him at Ankara’s event Wednesday while insisting that he is’very healthy’
Erdogan’s allies were forced to deny rumors about Erdogan’s health after he was seen “walking with difficulty” at Sunday’s G-20 summit
The Turkish president was captured taking a red-carpet picture and then slowly walking off to the side as guards raced to remove a rope barrier from his path.
Turkey’s disinformation law, which was in effect last month, punishes those who spread false information with up to five year imprisonment. Campaigners argue that it will be used to suppress freedom of speech.
Users are also being investigated for insulting President Obama, a law that dates back to the 1960s and can lead to up to four years imprisonment.
Erdogan’s health is a topic of constant speculation. The latest round was sparked by his appearance at Sunday’s G-20 in Rome.
Erdogan was captured taking a red-carpet picture. Guards then filmed him walking away, apparently unsteady as they tried to remove a rope barrier.
The footage did not appear on social media until Monday, the same day Erdogan was confirmed to have cancelled his attendance at the COP26 summit in Glasgow. This was allegedly due to security concerns.
Social media users quickly began to circulate rumours that he was suffering a serious condition or had died.
Erdogan’s spokesperson tweeted a video of Erdogan walking into Ankara’s event on Wednesday. Allies claimed that he is’very well’
Erdogan was then seen at an event marking the 19th anniversary of his party’s takeover in Ankara, which was held Wednesday.
Erdogan’s spokesperson Fahrettin Alun tweeted a video in which he was seen entering the event to dispel the rumours.
He uploaded it with the caption “trust your friend, fear the enemies”.
Another party member tweeted that the chief had arrived from Istanbul to Ankara. He is very well.
Erdogan had two surgeries in 2011 to fix polyps, which were small intestinal growths.
He has denied ever having been diagnosed with cancer since then.
Erdogan announced that he would be skipping the COP26 conference. This led to speculations that he had been killed (pictured on Sunday at G-20).
When footage was released that appeared to show him needing assistance to climb stairs, rumours began to circulate about his ill-health.
A clip of him speaking to members of his AKP party in June also showed him appearing confused and to trail off mid-sentence.
As President since 2014 and Prime Minister since 2003, the strongman leader has dominated Turkish politics for more than two decades.
However, his popularity seems to be declining, especially among younger voters.
His party suffered humiliating defeats in major cities like Istanbul during the 2019 mayoral elections.
The next presidential election will take place in 2023. A recent Foreign Policy magazine article questions whether Erdogan will run.