Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is claiming that Muslim sailors reached the Americas more than 300 years before explorer Christopher Columbus.
Speaking Saturday at a gathering of Muslim leaders from Latin America, Erdogan said that contact between Islam and Latin America dates to the 12th century.
He says Muslim sailors reached the American continent in 1178 — 314 years before Columbus did in 1492.
Turkey’s president says that in his memoirs, Columbus mentions the existence of a mosque atop a hill on the coast of Cuba.
Scholars have disputed the claim in Columbus’ writings, saying there is no archaeological evidence of Muslims having lived in the Americas before Columbus.
Erdogan, however, is convinced and says he’d like to see a mosque built on that hilltop in Cuba today.