Skip to main content

Erdogan says Mohamed Morsi was 'killed' and calls for investigation

Turkish president says he does not believe former Egyptian leader died 'of natural causes'
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses mourners during symbolic Istanbul funeral ceremony for former Egyptian president on Wednesday (AFP)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that Mohamed Morsi was "killed" and called for Egypt's government to face an international investigation over his death.

In a televised speech in Istanbul, Erdogan said the imprisoned former president - who was overthrown in a coup in 2013 - had been deliberately allowed to die by Egyptian authorities.

"Morsi was struggling on the floor in the courtroom for 20 minutes. Authorities unfortunately did not intervene to save him," Erdogan said. "Morsi was killed, he did not die of natural causes."

Erdogan forged close ties with Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected civilian president and a prominent Muslim Brotherhood member.

But Ankara's relations with Cairo deteriorated after the Egyptian military, then led by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, ousted Morsi in 2013.

Sisi then became president. 

‘A funeral with no body or coffin’: How Morsi’s hometown observed his death
Read More »

Erdogan has sharply denounced the military takeover in Egypt and called it a "coup".

On Wednesday, he said he would follow up on the process to probe Morsi's death.

"We will do whatever is needed for Egypt to be tried in international courts."

The attorney-general's office in Egypt has said that Morsi was "transported immediately to the hospital", where medics pronounced him dead - a version confirmed by a judicial source.

Morsi was buried on Tuesday, as rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch called for an independent probe into the causes of his death.

Erdogan on Tuesday joined in prayer at an Istanbul mosque for the former Egyptian leader.

Egypt's government, still led by Sisi, has reacted with anger to suggestions that it intentionally caused Morsi's death.

On Wednesday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Hafez slammed a UN call for an inquiry as a "deliberate attempt to politicise a natural death".

He said he condemned in the "strongest possible terms" the request that the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville, made on Tuesday.

"Any sudden death in custody must be followed by a prompt, impartial, thorough and transparent investigation carried out by an independent body to clarify the cause of death," Colville was cited as saying.

"Concerns have been raised regarding the conditions of Mr Morsi's detention, including access to adequate medical care, as well as sufficient access to his lawyers and family."