President Erdoğan says America was discovered by Muslims, not Columbus

Published 15.11.2014 19:47
Updated 15.11.2014 20:08
President Erdoğan says America was discovered by Muslims, not Columbus

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Saturday that the Americas were discovered by Muslims in the 12th century, nearly three centuries before Christopher Columbus set foot there.

"Contacts between Latin America and Islam date back to the 12th century. Muslim navigators reached the continent in 1178, some 314 years before the discovery of Columbus" Erdoğan said in a speech during the Latin American Muslim Leaders Religious Summit in Istanbul.

"Muslim sailors arrived in America from 1178. Columbus mentioned the existence of a mosque on a hill on the Cuban coast," Erdoğan said.

Erdoğan said that Ankara was even prepared to build a mosque at the site mentioned by the Genoese explorer.

"I would like to talk about it to my Cuban brothers. A mosque would go perfectly on the hill today," Erdoğan said.

Erdoğan also touched upon the the critical situation in Aleppo, saying "There is economy, history, culture in Aleppo. There is a population of one million. Those who started an uproar for Kobani, where Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militants and peshmerga forces are clashing, did not feel any concern on Aleppo."

"Why is Kobani so strategic for you? Erdoğan said referring to Western nations. "It is on our border and it would be strategic for us. And there are no civilians. Turkey is already hosting 200,000 people fleeing from there."

"When it comes to Muslims, (...) all Western values disappear. They even discriminated between terrorist groups, between the secular and non-secular. If terrorists claim to be secular, they felt sympathy for that," Erdoğan also said, blaming Western nations for not treating the Democratic Union Party, or PYD, on the same level as ISIS.

The former is an affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, PKK, which is outlawed in Turkey.

The clashes between Islamic State of Iraq and the al-Sham militants and the outlawed Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party's armed units in Kobani have intensified since September.

The U.S. provided military weapons to Democratic Union Party fighters in October despite the opposition from Turkey.

Meanwhile, Syria's most populous city Aleppo remains besieged, on one side by Bashar al-Assad's forces and, on the other, by ISIS militants. The opposition Free Syrian Army controls also controls several key neighborhoods.

The participants applauded Erdogan when he said, "They prefer bringing democracy to oil-rich countries, do not care about the ones lacking it."

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