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Erdogan condemns inaction before Morsi’s death

ANKARA (AA): Turkey’s president on Tuesday condemned the “Western world and humanity” for looking on as former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi died after being toppled and tortured in prison.

Speaking at a rally in Istanbul, Recep Tayyip Erdogan lamented the death of Egypt’s first democratically-elected leader, who died Monday during a court appearance.

Expressing his condolences to the Egyptian people and the Islamic world, Erdogan said Morsi “marched from the captivity to martyrdom”.

A leading member of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood group, Morsi won the country’s first free presidential election in 2012.

After only one year in office, he was ousted and imprisoned in a bloody military coup led by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt’s then-defense minister and current president.

At the time of his death, Morsi faced a host of legal charges, which he along with numerous human rights groups and independent observers said were politically motivated.

Erdogan also said Sunday’s upcoming mayoral election of the Istanbul’s metropolitan municipality showed there were those who were “reminiscent of [the fate of] Morsi” on the one hand, and those who would “walk the just way” on the other.

Istanbul mayoral election

Erdogan said his party expected “strong support” for Istanbul municipality mayoral candidate Binali Yildirim in an upcoming revote on June 23.

Recalling that he himself was first elected to public office as Istanbul’s mayor in 1994, Erdogan said he has worked with Yildirim ever since.

He said they did everything with “sincerity”, in hopes of improving the country.

“This will be a period in which both of us will put all our experience to pay our loyalty to Istanbul,” Erdogan said.

He stressed that the government, along with ministries and institutions would be with Yildirim in all areas of service.

“Every new service we bring to Istanbul — to which we are attached with a deep love, affection and passion — will be a means of pride for us,” he said.

Erdogan stressed that Istanbul is now known for the Marmaray metro line that connects Asia and Europe, the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge — the third bridge over the Bosporus — and Istanbul Airport, one of the world’s biggest.

Millions of Turkish citizens cast their votes nationwide on March 31 in local elections to choose mayors, city council members, mukhtars (neighborhood officials) and members of elder councils for the next five years.

The results of the March vote for mayorship were canceled in Istanbul after the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) appealed to the country’s top election council, citing irregularities and violations of the elections law.

In a local elections revote slated for June 23 in Turkey, People’s Alliance candidate Binali Yildirim and Nation Alliance candidate Ekrem Imamoglu will again vie for the Istanbul mayor’s seat after the country’s top election authority ordered a re-run of the March 31 Istanbul polls.

Syrians in Turkey

”We treat Syrians in Turkey as muhajirs who escaped barrel bombs and took refuge in our country,” Erdogan said.

Muhajirs are a historical name for the companions of Prophet Muhammad who emigrated from Makkah to Madinah to flee persecution, and the Ansar are the Muslims of Madinah who helped them.

He also condemned rumors about Syrians being paid salaries while living in Turkey.

“We provide food and clothing support in container cities, but there is no such thing as salary payments,” Erdogan said.

Erdogan also stressed that Turkey provides health support to Syrians in camps, hospitals, dispensaries and tent cities.

He said that 330,000 Syrians have already returned to their native country as of now, adding that “as long as the struggle there is successful, they will return to their homes.”

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in early 2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected severity.

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