Egypt's 2013 coup derailed posting of top Turkish diplomat

Published 22.06.2019 00:03

This week's shocking death of Egypt's first and only democratic leader Mohammed Morsi in an Egyptian courtroom brought back memories for Ahmet Yıldız, the Turkish diplomat appointed six years ago to be ambassador to Egypt; however, before he could go, democracy suffered a defeat in Egypt and changed Yıldız's plans.

During Morsi's abbreviated one-year tenure as Egypt's first democratically elected president, Yıldız got word of his new posting: Turkey's top diplomat in Cairo.

As spring turned to summer in 2013, Yıldız, then ambassador to the Balkan nation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, made arrangements for his new assignment: He sent his belongings to Cairo, gathered his children's school records and even got tickets for a flight to Egypt in early July.

But before going to Egypt he made an appointment in the Turkish capital Ankara with now-President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, then serving as prime minister, as well as then-President Abdullah Gül.

They were set to meet on July 3, 2013.

It was on that very same day, however, that President Morsi was ousted in a bloody coup by Egypt's military.

Since the coup, Turkey has been a fierce critic of the Egyptian regime that ousted Morsi and has blasted the regime's trial of Morsi on a host of charges most international observers call politically motivated.

Following Morsi's sudden death in a courtroom this Monday, Turkish leaders have decried his mistreatment and suggested that his death was no accident.

As for Yıldız, he never took up his posting in Cairo, but he kept his letter of credentials as ambassador as a memento of those dark days.

It was impossible to go to Egypt after the coup, he said, adding: "I wish I had gone a few months earlier and started my service. It saddened me that I was unable to serve in Egypt."

Yıldız, now a ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) lawmaker, offered his condolences to Morsi's family and the Egyptian people who elected him.

Morsi was elected president in 2012 but was ousted in a military coup a year later. The military crushed the Muslim Brotherhood movement in a major crackdown, arresting Morsi and many others of the group's leaders, who have been in prison undergoing multiple trials ever since the coup.

Turkey's relations with Cairo deteriorated after the Egyptian military, then led by Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, ousted Morsi. Erdoğan strongly condemned Morsi's ouster.

Morsi reportedly died from a heart attack Monday during a court session. The country's state television reported early Tuesday that Morsi was "suffering from a benign tumor, had continuous medical attention and his death was caused by a heart attack."

He was buried in Nasr City, east of Cairo, early Tuesday morning.

Amnesty International and other rights groups have called for a fair, transparent and comprehensive investigation into Morsi's death and raised questions about his treatment in prison. Egypt's government has dismissed accusations that he was treated poorly.

Morsi 'killed' by Egyptian regime, says son

Meanwhile, Morsi's son Abdullah has accused el-Sissi and a number of officials of "killing" his father.

In a Thursday tweet, the late president's son named a number of officials whom he called "partners" of el-Sissi "in killing the martyr president."

He particularly accused incumbent and former Interior Ministers Mahmoud Tawfiq and Magdy Abdel Ghaffar respectively.

The names also included judges Shirin Fahmy, Shaaban al-Shami and Ahmed Sabry as well as Attorney General Nabil Sadek and Abbas Kamel, the head of the intelligence service.

Egyptian authorities have yet to comment on the claims by Morsi's son.

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