Thousands in Istanbul pray for ex-Egyptian president Morsi 

Istanbul (AFP) –


Thousands joined in prayer in Istanbul on Tuesday for former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi who died the previous day after collapsing during a trial hearing in a Cairo court.

The prayers, called by Turkey's religious authority Diyanet, took place in the city's Fatih mosque. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a close ally of Morsi, is due to attend afternoon prayers there.

Ankara's relations with Cairo deteriorated after the Egyptian military, then led by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, ousted Morsi in 2013. Sisi then became president.

Erdogan on Monday called Morsi a "martyr" and blamed Egypt's "tyrants" for his death.

Turkey has strongly denounced Morsi's ouster, with Erdogan calling it a "coup".

On Tuesday, the Turkish leader lashed out at the West for "merely watching Morsi's toppling and his suffering in a one-room cell".

Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president in 2012 after the Arab Spring uprisings, was overthrown after a turbulent year in power.

He was buried on Tuesday, as rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch called for an independent probe into the causes of his death.

Erdogan slammed Egyptian authorities for burying him discreetly with only a small number of family members and confidants attending and journalists barred from the site.

"They are even scared of his dead body," Erdogan said.