Turkey’s President Erdogan: Muslims discovered the Americas Centuries Before Columbus

Turkish president declares that Muslim sailors reached the American continent 314 years before the 1492 landing of Columbus.

By Deb Riechmann

 

AP – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is claiming that Muslim sailors reached the Americas more than 300 years before explorer Christopher Columbus.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at a ceremony marking the anniversary of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s death, November 10, 2014 in Ankara. – Photo: AFP

 

Erdoğan made the comments on Saturday at a gathering of Muslim leaders from Latin America.

“Contacts between Latin America and Islam date back to the 12th century. Muslims discovered America in 1178, not Christopher Columbus,” the president said in a televised speech, according to AFP. Columbus reached the continent in 1492.

Turkey’s president said that in his memoirs, Columbus mentions the existence of a mosque atop a hill on the coast of Cuba.

Wikimedia Commons

A portrait of Christopher Columbus by Sebastiano del Piombo, circa 1520. – Photo: Wikimedia Commons

“I would like to talk about it to my Cuban brothers. A mosque would go perfectly on the hill today,” the Turkish leader said.

Scholars have disputed the claim in Columbus’ writings, saying there is no archaeological evidence of Muslims having lived in the Americas before Columbus.

 

View original HAARETZ publication at: http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/1.626679

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