Pro-Erdogan Turkish Media: ‘Those Who Crucified Christ’ Killed Mohamed Morsi

Ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi gestures from the defendants cage as he attends his trial at the police academy on the outskirts of the capital Cairo on June 2, 2015. The Egyptian court postponed its final ruling on Morsi, who was sentenced to death along with dozens more over a …
KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty

The editor-in-chief of the pro-government Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak accused, among others, the crown princes of United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia, Israel, the U.S. government, and “those who crucified Christ” of murdering former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in a column Wednesday.

Ibrahim Karagül, whose Yeni Safak opinion pieces typically offer a less diplomatic version of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party line, concludes that the international conspiracy he blames for Morsi’s death has “openly declared war against Turkey,” Erdogan, and Islam in general.

Erdogan himself accused the “murderer” President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of killing Morsi on Monday and has since repeatedly his theory that Morsi’s death was not “normal.”

Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, died in an Egyptian court on Monday. Egyptian state media reported that the 67-year-old suffered a heart attack after an impassioned speech in his defense during a trial for espionage. Cairo had already sentenced Morsi to death for allegedly organizing a prison break.

Morsi became the first democratically elected president of Egypt in the aftermath of the Islamist Arab Spring protests of 2011 that toppled longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak. The Egyptian military overthrew Morsi in 2012, after which current President Sisi took over.

In a column titled, “Those who crucified Christ and drove Prophet Muhammad from Mecca also martyred Mursi. Mohammed bin Salman and Mohammed bin Zayed! Did you put the Kaaba and the prophet up for sale too? You launched a war against Turkey and targeted President Erdoğan. There are miscreants waiting in ambush to apply a Mursi scenario in Turkey too!,” Karagül demands revenge for Morsi’s death.

Karagül eulogizes Morsi as a “believer, a patriot, a good man, a man who turned his back on all the world’s ugliness … a man who held onto God’s messengers and their messages against the Pharaoh who was at war with God.”

“Those who crucified Christ, drove prophet Muhammad from Mecca, those who made the messengers of God suffer, their companions are the ones who drove Mohammad Mursi from this world,” Karagül writes. “He was abandoned to the mercy of the U.S. and Israel in Egypt’s dungeons, he was interrogated and subjected to torture by them, and martyred in accordance with their assassination plans.”

Karagül does not elaborate on who he means when he refers to “those who crucified Christ” or “drove prophet Muhammad from Mecca,” as neither the United States nor Israel existed as states during those historical events. He does later add to his list of culprits Saudi Arabia and the UAE, members of a “Crusader front … established against justice, freedom, against humanity’s honor, against the emotions of a nation, and against their beliefs.” Karagül regularly refers to enemies of Muslims as “Crusaders,” a term popularized by the Islamic State (ISIS), and typically lists the Saudi and Emirati crown princes as being among the ranks of the “Crusaders.” Ironically, ISIS propaganda has referred to the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi’s political party, as a “cancer” on true Islam.

Karagül concludes with a condemnation of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his Emirati counterpart Mohammed bin Zayed, who have no overt connection to the Morsi trial in Egypt other than maintaining generally friendly relations with the Egyptian government.

“You are the ones who murdered Mohamed Mursi,” Karagül declares. “You are the ones who turned Egypt into a bloodbath. … You openly declared war against Turkey. You funded coups in this country. You conducted assassinations, and smuggled terror gangs into our cities.”

Karagül attacks Saudi Arabia and the UAE on a weekly basis, accusing Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of being an Israeli intelligence asset in 2017 and calling for Saudi Arabia to “dethrone immediately” Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the aftermath of the death of Muslim Brotherhood sympathizing columnist Jamal Khashoggi. He also routinely publishes screeds against the United States and Israel.

While the content he publishes as both columnist and editor-in-chief is extreme, Erdogan’s government has accepted Karagül as part of their mainstream media relations. Karagül boasted a plum viewing location during Erdogan’s presidential inauguration last year. The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) has referred to Karagül as an Erdogan “confidant.”

Erdogan has made similar remarks on Morsi to Karagül’s, albeit far more moderately. Unlike the editor, however, Erdogan has placed the blame of Morsi’s death squarely on Sisi’s shoulders.

“The West has always been silent in the face of these executions by Sissi. EU member states forbidding execution unfortunately accepted an invitation by this murderer Sissi to attend a meeting in Egypt,” Erdoğan said on Monday.

Erdogan ordered nationwide Muslim funeral rites for Morsi following his death, a courtesy Cairo did not afford the former president. Sisi’s government hastily buried Morsi Tuesday morning in a private ceremony, rejecting the family’s wishes for a public funeral to allow his supporters to participate in the mourning.

At a Morsi funeral in Istanbul on Wednesday, Erdogan dismissed the idea that Morsi’s death was unavoidable.

“Whether it was a normal death, or there were some other elements involved, this was suspicious,” he told reporters. “Personally, I do not believe that it was a normal death.”

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

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