Turkey's Erdogan cuts short U.S. trip for Muhammad Ali tribute

Fri Jun 10, 2016 8:25am EDT
 
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ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has cut short a visit to the United States and will not take part in a second day of ceremonies to commemorate the death of boxer Muhammad Ali, a source in his office said on Friday.

Erdogan, who attended a Muslim funeral for Ali on Thursday, had been expected to be among world leaders and fans gathering in Ali's Kentucky hometown on Friday to bid a final farewell to the boxing great, who died a week ago.

But a source in Erdogan's office said the Turkish leader had left the United States and would arrive back in Istanbul at around 10 a.m. ET on Friday. A second official also confirmed he had cut short his trip, but neither offered any explanation.

Broadcaster CNN Turk said that Erdogan had wanted to lay a piece of cloth on Ali's coffin, and had wanted the head of Turkey's religious affairs directorate to recite part of the Koran, but that his wishes had been refused.

CNN Turk did not cite its sources and there was no confirmation of this from Turkish officials.

(Reporting by Tulay Karadeniz; Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

 
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan (R) attends the jenazah, an Islamic funeral prayer, for the late boxing champion Muhammad Ali in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. June 9, 2016.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson