The former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi who collapsed and died in court June 17, was ‘killed’, Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan claimed today.
Morsi, a leading member of the now outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, was said to be Egypt’s only democratically-elected president.
Thousands of mourners took part in prayers yesterday in Turkey for Morsi a day after he collapsed and died in court. Worshippers flooded the squares and mosques in Ankara and Diyabakir to offer prayers in absentia for Morsi, who ruled Egypt from 30 June 2012 to 3 July 2013, when he was removed from office through coup d’état by General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was a close friend of Morsi during his short tenure as president, and one of the fiercest international critics of the coup that kicked him out of the office.
A small ceremony was held in Egypt on Tuesday to bury Morsi in a cemetery in the east of the capital Cairo after his family said a request for a public burial in his hometown were denied by Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s government.
At Istanbul’s Fatih mosque, where thousands joined in prayers, Erdogan called Morsi a “martyr” and blamed Egypt’s “tyrants” for his death, adding that he doesn’t believe that Morsi died of natural causes.
“I don’t believe that this was a normal death,” Erdogan said. The Turkish president also denounced the Egyptian authorities for burying Morsi discreetly, with only a small number of family members and confidants present.
“They are so cowardly that they could not even deliver his body to his family,” Erdogan said.
According to Independent news, Morsi was suffering from diabetes, hypertension and liver disease prior to his death. He collapsed after speaking during a retrial hearing in Cairo over charges of collaborating with foreign powers and militant groups.
But Turkish president, Erdogan said: “Unfortunately, Mohamed Morsi was on the ground of the courtroom flailing for 20 minutes. No official there intervened. Morsi did not [die] naturally, he was killed.”
“They did not give Morsi’s body to his family. They even feared his body,” Erdogan said.
“Morsi wanted to be buried in his village. However, the Egyptian regime buried him not in his village but in their own designated location,” he added.
He vowed to pursue justice for this sudden and unexplained death.
“Turkey will do whatever it takes to prosecute Egypt [regime] in international courts,” he said, urging the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to take action.
“We will also raise the issue at the G20 meeting in Osaka,” he added.
The office of Egypt’s attorney-general denied the claims that he was murdered, stating that he “was transported immediately to the hospital”, where he was later pronounced dead.