Deposed President Mohamed Morsi has had his first conversations with his family since the coup that overthrew him and defiantly declared that he is still Egypt’s legitimate leader, according to a Turkish news report.
The 62-year-old Islamist has been detained in an undisclosed location since Egypt’s army forced him from power on July 3. Until now, he has been held virtually incommunicado, with even his legal team unable to speak with him.
Turkey’s state Anatolia news agency said the phone calls with family members took place last week. It said Morsi told them he would “stand my ground until my last breath.”
Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood organization has received stronger backing from Turkey than from any of Egypt’s other neighbors. Turkey’s Islamist-leaning Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, himself facing a wave of protests at home, has called for Morsi’s reinstatement.
The military removed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected leader, after huge protests at the end of June denouncing his yearlong rule.
In August, followers of his Muslim Brotherhood, who had set up large protest camps, were violently dispersed by Egyptian security forces, leaving hundreds of them dead. Most of Morsi’s top aides are in jail, and others are on the run.
The former president faces charges including incitement to kill protesters, but no trial date has been set for him.