Hundreds gather in Istanbul to mourn Morsi

Hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters took to the streets of Turkey’s capital and Istanbul on Tuesday, mourning former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi and some chanting slogans blaming Cairo authorities for his death.

Morsi – a leading member of the Islamist group which is now banned in Egypt – died on Monday after collapsing in a Cairo court while on trial on espionage charges, authorities and a medical source said.

The 67-year-old had been in jail since the army commanded by Egypt’s now president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi toppled him in 2013 after barely a year in power following mass protests against his rule.

About 500 people in Ankara prayed in a central street halting traffic outside the Egyptian Embassy – in sharp contrast to central Cairo on Tuesday morning, where there were no signs of protests. Egypt has cracked down on Islamist groups since Morsi’s ouster.

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”.

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 on 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, and many Brotherhood members and supporters have fled 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 Islamic State militants.

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