Turkish President's Columbus Comments Trigger “Mosque on the Moon” Mockery


What did Columbus really see? Image from Flickr

Turkish President Recep Erdoğan never shies away from an opportunity to offer an outlandish quote. Recently he claimed that Muslim pilgrims, rather than Christopher Columbus, discovered America, and suggested a mosque should be built in Cuba to honour the fact.

What? Where does he plan to build the mosque again?

What? Where does he plan to build the mosque again? Widely shared on Twitter. 

Addressing a gathering of Latin American Muslims in Istanbul November 15, Erdoğan said:

It is alleged that the American continent was discovered by Columbus in 1492.In fact, Muslim sailors reached the American continent 314 years before Columbus, in 1178…in his memoirs, Christopher Columbus mentions the existence of a mosque atop a hill on the coast of Cuba. A mosque would look perfect on that hill today.

A columnist, Oray Eğin, showed where Erdogan might have got his wires crossed on Twitter:


Of course it may be Erdoğan's conservative columnists and advisors that are behind this revelation rather than Erdoğan himself. Abdurrahman Dilipak is one such character. In 1984 he penned a book entitled Coğrafi Keşiflerin İçyüzü, The Reality of Geographical Discoveries, which was popular in some Muslim literary circles for a time.

Dilipak tweeted his support for Erdoğan's finding on November 17:

 Before Colombus arrived USA [sic], there was an Indian bride in Istanbul!

But Turkish netizens were quick to make fun of Erdoğan's statement.

Bobiler, a Turkish meme website, quickly seized on Erdoğan's promise to build a mosque in Cuba, turning him into a latter-day Che Guevara:


Another meme generator,İnciCaps, imagined the reaction in Havana:

"Response from Cuba came quickly"

“Response from Cuba came quickly”

Google Search on the topic yields a number of other unflattering takedowns of the president's theory. 

Finally netizens decided to take the president's historical expropriations to a whole new cosmic level:

neil armstrongHere, Neil Armstrong writes the following in his autobiography:

When we landed on the moon, we saw the ruins of a magnificent building. Buzz Aldrin and I were amazed as we approached the ruins. This was a small, elaborately-built Ottoman mosque. When we came back to earth, NASA and the American government ordered us not to talk about it…                                                                                       Neil Armstrong – Autobiography, 1997. 


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