Turkey: Indicted Sudan leader won't attend summit

AP News
Posted: Nov 08, 2009 11:58 AM

Turkey said Sunday that Sudan's internationally indicted leader, President Omar al-Bashir, will not attend a conference of Muslim nations in Istanbul.

Turkey had faced criticism for its planned welcome of al-Bashir, who is the first government leader to face international war-crimes charges.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had said al-Bashir would be welcome at Monday's Istanbul summit of the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference. Erdogan also downplayed accusations that al-Bashir and his regime orchestrated the slaughter, rape and mass expulsion of African natives in Darfur.

But the Turkish government said Sunday night it had been informed that al-Bashir would not attend the summit.

"We have received information that the Sudanese president will not attend the IOC (Organization of the Islamic Conference) meeting," a senior government official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity in line with government policy.

Turkey does not recognize the authority of the International Criminal Court, the Hague, Netherlands-based body that in March issued an arrest warrant for al-Bashir.