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Egypt denies Morsi 'release deal'

Muhammed Morsi was handed the death sentence by an Egyptian court (Getty)

Date of publication: 22 May, 2015

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Reports of efforts by Ankara to secure a deal to stop former Egyptian president Mohammad Morsi death sentence are denied by Egyptians and Qataris.

Turkey is mediating between the Muslim Brotherhood and Saudi Arabia, amid media reports of a Turkish proposal to allow former Egyptian president Muhammed Morsi to be exiled to Turkey, the head of foreign relations at the Brotherhood-led Freedom and Justice Party, Muhammed Soudan, told al-Araby al-Jadeed.

Soudan was however dismissive of the idea that Morsi would accept any offer to leave for Turkey, saying that “the only person able to give an opinion concerning this proposal is Morsi himself”.

“My personal opinion is that neither the Egyptian regime and [President Abdel Fattah] al-Sisi, nor President Morsi, will accept this offer,” he hastened to add.

Another former adviser to Morsi, Ahmed Abdul-Aziz, also refused to confirm or deny the reports, after al-Araby contacted him in Istanbul, where he is based.

Senior Qatari diplomatic sources denied reports that they are involved in the contacts between the Turks and the Saudis, after a Turkish newspaper close to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan's AKP, Takvim, reported that Turkish officials, along with Qatar and Saudi Arabia, were leading efforts to spare Morsi from the death penalty.

The Qatari sources did not discount the possibility that Turkey may be conducting negotiations itself.

Takvim claimed that Sisi has shown interest in the proposal, keen to de-escalate the situation and find a way out of the crisis. Turkey was one of the few countries in the region to have criticised the recent mass death sentences in Egypt, which have been severely criticised by human rights organisations.

At a recent joint press conference with Mladen Ivanic, the chairman of the presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Erdogan said that the Egyptian president that he recognises remains Morsi, and not Sisi, who overthrew Morsi in a coup in July 2013, and won an election himself in 2014. Erdogan criticised the general silence of Western countries over Morsi's death sentence, highlighting that the European Union has abolished capital punishment.

Sources within the Muslim Brotherhood said that contacts are underway wit Gulf officials in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, in an attempt to push them to intervene and stop the death sentence from being carried out against Morsi and other Brotherhood leaders.

A Saudi source close to decision-making circles in the kingdom also said that King Salman is discussing ways to de-escalate the situation in Egypt with Crown Prince Muhammed bin Nayef, following contacts with Turkey.

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