August 12, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir received a phone call on Monday from the Turkish president-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan in response to congratulatory cable, state media reported.
- Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan (Reuters)
Sudan’s official news agency (SUNA) said that Erdogan inquired on Bashir’s health following his left knee surgery over the weekend.
Erdogan, who is currently Turkey’s Prime Minister, praised Bashir and his country’s strong stances on the Gaza crisis and his support of other issues in the Islamic world.
Bashir also applauded Erdogan’s courageous international positions in supporting just causes in the world.
The two sides also discussed progress of bilateral relations, SUNA reported and also exchanged visit invitations.
Erdogan was supposed to visit Sudan since 2012 to inaugurate a Turkey-funded hospital in Darfur but his trip kept getting postponed for unknown reasons.
In late 2009, Bashir who is a target of an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over alleged war crimes and genocide in Darfur, cancelled a visit to Turkey to attend the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation (COMCEC) of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) following intense international pressure.
Ankara at the time defended its stance saying it did not send out the invitation to Bashir but they were simply hosting the conference and asserted that it has no intention of inviting him in the future for bilateral talks.
Later Turkish media reported that Ankara quietly asked Bashir to stay away and suggested that their prosecutor could act on his own initiative to arrest the Sudanese leader despite the country not being an ICC member.
Nonetheless Erdogan defended Bashir saying that a Muslim is incapable of committing genocide.
“In any event a Muslim could not commit genocide, he is not capable of it,” Erdogan said at the time.
“If there was such a thing [genocide] we could talk about it face to face with President Bashir” he added.
The Turkish Premier said he visited Darfur and saw no signs of genocide.