Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday that the Americas were discovered by Muslims in the 12th century -- nearly three centuries before Christopher Columbus set foot there -- the Al Jazeera (Arabic) website reports today (November 16, 2014).
"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 during an Istanbul summit of Muslim leaders from Latin America.
"Muslim sailors arrived in America from 1178. Columbus mentioned the existence of a mosque on a hill on the Cuban coast," Erdogan said.
The president also said that Turkey was willing to build a mosque at the Cuban site mentioned by the Italian explorer.