As rumours and speculation on social media about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s health condition triggered a leap in the value of foreign currencies against the Turkish Lira (TL), a criminal investigation has been started against the owners of dozens of Turkish social media accounts.
The Euro peaked close to 11.29 TL on Wednesday around 11am local time from around 11.13 earlier in the morning, causing the TL to depreciate 1.4 % within a matter of hours, reportedly due to a sudden and widespread rumour on social media that Erdoğan’s health condition may be critical or worse.
By around 14:00pm, the Department of Police announced that a criminal investigation had been launched against 30 individuals.
“Legal processes have been started for 30 individuals who have posted content on Twitter containing insults, demoralising false rumours and degradation against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, spreading disinformation and manipulation, under the hashtag #ölmüş [‘he’s dead’],” the announcement said.
To ensure that Erdoğan was seen to be well, the Head of the Media and Communications in the Turkish Presidency posted a video of him on Twitter under a message that read, ‘Confidence to the friends, fear to the enemies’.
There have been constant rumours about Erdoğan’s health within the last year. He was recorded dozing off in July during a live broadcast.