Turkey's Erdogan proposes building mosque in Cuba

The Turkish president visited the monument of the Cuban national hero, Jose Marti, during the second stop of his visit to Latin America.

Turkey's Erdogan proposes building mosque in Cuba
World Bulletin / News Desk
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan began talks for bilateral cooperation with his Cuban counterpart Wednesday at the Cuban capital of Havana, the second stop of his Latin American visit.

Earlier, Erdogan visited the monument of the Cuban national hero, Jose Marti, and laid a wreath after national anthems of both nations were played.

Cuban President Raul Castro welcomed his Turkish counterpart at an official ceremony at the Cuba’s presidential office. The Turkish and Cuban delegations were expected to move to a luncheon meeting following their delegation-level meetings.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci, Food, Agriculture and Livestock Minister Mehdi Eker and Culture Minister Omer Celik are part of the Turkish delegation.

Erdogan and his delegation arrived in Havana Tuesday.

Cuban Ambassador to Turkey Alberto Gonzales Casals had told AA that Turkey and Cuba were expected to sign a cultural agreement.

"The culture of Cuba is very well-known in Turkey. Turkish culture is renowned in Cuba. We have much to develop in tourism," Casals said.

Also, Turkey's Ambassador to Havana Hasan Servet Oktem had told AA that Cuba's need for foreign capital was on the rise and the country was expecting investors from Turkey.

"Turkey and Cuba have close relations and Erdogan's visit will contribute into expansion towards Latin America," Oktem had said.

On Sunday, Erdogan departed from Istanbul for Colombia, Cuba and Mexico, the first visit of a Turkish president to these countries.

This is the second visit of a Turkish high level delegation to Latin American countries, with the first held in 1995.

Erdogan's talks during the visits would focus on regional and international developments, bilateral relations and signing cooperation agreements in different fields.

Erdogan arrived in Colombia’s capital Bogota Monday and was welcomed by President Juan Manuel Santos Calderon Tuesday.

The two leaders held a joint press conference later on Tuesday and attended a signing agreement for a number of joint projects.

Building a mosque in Cuba

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has proposed to Cuba the construction of a mosque on the Caribbean island during a visit to Havana, pushing ahead with a plan apparently inspired by his belief that Muslims discovered the Americas.

After talks with Cuban President Raul Castro, Erdogan said on Wednesday he had sought approval for Turkey to build the place of worship in Havana that would be based on the model of a mosque in the Ortakoy district on the European shore of the Bosphorus strait in Istanbul.

Last November, Erdogan told a conference of Muslim leaders from Latin America in Istanbul that Muslims had reached the Americas in the 12th century, before the European explorer Christopher Columbus did so in 1492.

"I presented all the information, project work and visuals regarding the Ortakoy mosque. 'We will do this ourselves. We don't want a partner. If you find it appropriate we want to do this'," Erdogan's presidential website quoted him as saying of his talks with Castro.

Erdogan also told reporters the Cuban government had agreed with Saudi Arabia on a similar project some time ago. In light of this, his planned mosque could be built elsewhere in Cuba, he said.

It was not clear what response Erdogan had received to the proposal from the authorities in Cuba.

The largest mosque in Latin America is the King Fahd Islamic Cultural Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Closer to Cuba, the Caribbean nations of Trinidad, Guyana and Suriname have significant Muslim populations.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 12 Şubat 2015, 14:50