Mohamed Morsi was the first democratically elected president of Egypt. His government was overthrown soon after his first year in office (June 30, 2012- July 3, 2013) by the military coup led by General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who had been appointed as the Defense Minister by Morsi himself. He was in prison since then, and put on trial on countless of charges against him. Shortly after he took the floor during a court session in his trial, he fainted and collapsed onto the floor, and pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital in Cairo.
He became martyr.
Egypt is the most important country of the Arab World in all respects. Because of the country’s significance, the people of Egypt constantly suffer in the hands of never-ending troubles. The military seized power by overthrowing the kingdom (1952), and held power firmly until the ‘Arab Spring‘ and denied all sorts of freedoms to the people.
The Egyptian people blew away the cobwebs through the encouraging spirit of the ‘Arab Spring‘ in order to become the architect of its own fortune by exercising democracy through the free election for presidency which led to Mohamed Morsi‘s ascendancy to power.
Al–Sisi‘s military coup strangled that democratic experience just in the initial stage of it.
Cruel treatment deemed just and proper for Morsi
It was known that Morsi was exposed to a cruel treatment in prison, and denied access to medicine and medical services despite his diabetic and blood-pressure disorders. He was kept in defendants ‘cage‘ in the courtroom with his comrades, and his legal rights on trials were abused. He was allowed to see his family members for the first time for a very brief time four years after his arrest…
He was put on trial on many charges, and sentenced to the capital punishment as a result of one of those trials. The regime was biding its time to execute the verdict.
What would have the course of history in Egypt been if Morsi and his friends in the government had been allowed to stay in power and this important country of the Arab World had become an example of ‘democracy‘ in the region, instead of having the first civilian government toppled by a military coup?
Would Morsi turn himself into a dictator by turning his back to democracy which brought him to power as the president?
It is impossible to answer these two questions due to the fact that this democratic experience was allowed to last only one single year.
A sufficient length of time which would allow us to give answers to such questions was denied to Morsi and his people in Egypt.
Turkey did its best in order to prevent any wrong step during the process of regime change in a democratic manner in Egypt. The then President Abdullah Gül met with Morsi and other leading political figures of the new government in Cairo, and told them experiences of AK Party in Turkey. Tayyip Erdoğan, who was the prime minister at that time, intended to show the right path to the new rulers of Egypt by giving public speeches in Cairo in favor of ‘democracy and secularism‘.
After the military coup which turned the ‘Arab Spring‘ into an Arab winter, too, Turkey has continued to firmly oppose all anti-democratic and lawless practices in Egypt.
Egypt, which has frozen its ties with Turkey, is the closest ally of the USA and Israel in the region today. Al-Sisi is the most appreciated leader by Donald Trump. He has rolled out the welcome mat for Al-Sisi in the White House twice, and he uses the phrase “a great president doing a lot of immensely important jobs” for the Egyptian leader.
The USA turns a blind eye to the human rights violations in Egypt that have been condemned by several international institutions. Washington is getting prepared to declare the Muslim Brotherhood, once led by Morsi, as a ‘terrorist organization‘ following the military regime in Egypt and a number of countries in the Gulf.
A novel and its impact
It seems that the loss of Morsi has caused the deepest grief in Turkey among the Muslim countries.
One of the understandable reasons of this is a novel.
The plot of the novel, titled “Abdullah from Minye” and written by a Turkish author with the penname Hekimoğlu İsmail almost 50 years ago (1967), takes place in Egypt. In fact, Egypt is a randomly-chosen location here. As the author often emphasized in every occasion, it represents most of the Muslim countries of that time where people experienced the same harsh conditions described in the novel.
During the days the novel appeared in shelves in bookstores, Egypt, the rule of Gamal Abdel Nasser, hanged Professor Sayyid Qutb who was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood organization like Mohamed Morsi himself.
“Abdullah from Minye” has remained as the best-selling and well-read novel for 50 years in our country…
Egypt, after the military coup of Al-Sisi, has a regime which throws its dissidents into prisons and put people who categorically refuse armed struggle on trial as ‘terrorists‘. Thousands of people are on trial with fictitious allegations. Since 2014, 44 people have been hanged due to political motivations while 50 more have been sentenced to death penalty, and their executions are pending.
What can be done?
There is no doubt that Turkey’s stand against the coup and the subsequent practices of the military regime is justified, but reactions of Turkey have no effect on the regime at all. Relations between the two countries (Turkey and Egypt) are frozen and this situation benefits no one in the region despite the fact that establishing closes ties between them would affect structural balances in the region positively. The developments which have now reached to the loss of Morsi seem to be pointing out that if Turkey adopts a more flexible stand, this may prove to be more useful with some effect on the regime in Egypt.
When the Egyptian regime perceives Turkey as an ‘enemy‘, this causes the most important country of the Arab World to make further mistakes.
In one way or another, positive relations between these two countries should be restored.
May Allah rest Morsi’s soul in peace.
[Translated by Bernar Kutluğ from the the article appeared in this site’s Turkish section on June 18, 2019]