Hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters took to the streets of Turkey’s capital Ankara and Istanbul Tuesday, mourning former Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi. Some chanted slogans blaming Cairo authorities for his death.
Egypt's Former President Morsi
Dies in Court: State TV
Morsi—a leading member of the Islamist group now banned in Egypt—collapsed in a Cairo court Monday while on trial on espionage charges. He died shortly after.
Morsi, who became the first democratically elected leader in Egypt after the popular ouster of Hosni Mubarak, was toppled by a military coup d'état led by current president Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi in 2013.
About 500 people in Ankara prayed in a central street halting traffic outside the Egyptian Embassy, contrasting to Cairo Tuesday where there were no signs of protests. Egyptian leaders have cracked down on Islamist groups since Morsi’s ouster six years ago.
The Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, described his death as an assassination and they are holding the "authorities of the coup fully responsible for the martyring Morsi."
“Mohamed Morsi assassinated.”
Members of the Ankara crowd chanted: “Murderer Sisi, martyr Morsi” and held up banners reading “Putschists will be defeated”, a reference to Morsi’s overthrow.
Another several hundred people also attended a symbolic funeral in Istanbul’s conservative district of Fatih, holding pictures of Morsi and chanting, “God is Greatest.”
Many supporters took to social media to protest and mourn Morsi's death. They questioned the Egyptian government’s treatment during his long imprisonment.
Despite having a history of health issues, Morsi, during his six-year detention, suffered from medical neglect and poor prison conditions.
Bahey el-Din Hassan, the director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies said that the former president suffered a "slow death" while being held.
“It is time for awakening the conscience of mankind in Egypt and the world. The death of former president Mohammed Morsi after 6 years of slow murder. I am afraid that there is another long line of Sisi prisoners and victims of deliberate medical negligence in the waiting room for death.”
Rights groups have called for an investigation into Morsi’s death and raised questions about his treatment in prison. Egypt’s government has dismissed accusations that he was badly treated.
Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan, a supporter of Morsi, called him a martyr Monday. Muslim leaders said they would hold symbolic funerals for Morsi across Turkey’s 81 provinces.
Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted AK Party had supported Morsi’s short-lived Egyptian government back in 2013, and many Brotherhood members and supporters have fled to Turkey since its activities were banned in Egypt.
The Brotherhood says it is a non-violent movement and denies any relationship to violent insurgencies waged by al Qaeda and the Islamic State group.