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Turkey brushes off Bashir arrest bid

By AFP | Published Fri, December 29th 2017 at 00:00, Updated December 28th 2017 at 21:45 GMT +3
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. [Photo: Courtesy]

Turkey 'laughed off' a demand from the International Criminal Court to arrest Sudan's wanted leader when he attended a summit in Istanbul, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying Thursday.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted on charges of genocide and war crimes, on December 13 attended a summit of Islamic nations called by Erdogan to denounce US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

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Erdogan told Turkish reporters in an interview the ICC wrote a letter to Turkey saying it had information Bashir was in Istanbul for the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit and that he should be arrested and handed over to the court.

There was no immediate confirmation from the ICC, which is currently in recess, that it made such a demand.

"Something like this just makes you laugh," Erdogan was quoted as saying on his presidential plane as he rounded off a four-day trip to Africa.

"Are we going to just go and hand over to you someone who is a member of the OIC and is taking part in such a summit?

"What kind of understanding is this? It's impossible to understand it. We just laughed it off," Erdogan said.

He noted that Turkey was not a signatory to the treaty that set up the Hague-based ICC