Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has attended the official opening of a mosque in Cambridge.https://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/cambridge-news/president-turkey-cambridge-mosque-opening-17369864
The Central Mosque in Mill Road, which cost £23m and has the capacity for 1,000 worshippers, has been billed as "Europe's first eco-mosque".
A group of about 40 supporters welcomed the arrival of his cavalcade, while a rally held in the city centre attracted a similar number of protesters.
Campaigners said they were "standing in solidarity with the Kurdish community".
President Erdogan, who arrived in the UK this week for the Nato leaders' meeting, was invited to the mosque by singer-songwriter Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens. The musician is patron of the mosque.
The main donor was a consortium of government agencies in Turkey, together with a Turkish private company and the Qatar National Fund.
There was a heavy police presence in the area from early in the morning, with officers drafted in from as far away as Derbyshire.
Yunus Aslan travelled to Cambridge from London with a group of Erdogan supporters.
"I'm here to greet the greatest leader on earth, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, our president, and we're here to support him while he's in the UK," he said.
A short distance away in the city centre, protesters could be heard shouting "terrorist Erdogan".
One of them said: "I don't think Erdogan should be welcomed anywhere, especially not to open a house of worship."
The leader of the city council is urging people not to let today's visit by the President of Turkey to overshadow the opening of Cambridge Central Mosque.https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/b/cambridgeshire-police-asked-to-arrest-turkey-erdogan-for-war-crimes
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan attended the official opening of the new mosque in Mill Road today (December 5), having arrived in the UK earlier this week for the NATO summit in London.
A protest against Mr Erdoğan has been organised by the Cambridge Stop the War Coalition, Cambridge Kurdistan Solidarity, the Kurdish Solidarity Campaign and others.
The Turkish president is a highly controversial figure and has received widespread criticism for his shift to a more authoritarian style of leadership, with critics accusing him of silencing dissent, committing human rights abuses, and condemning his invasion of Kurdish territory in Syria.
In an interview with the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the leader of Cambridge City Council, Lewis Herbert, said he wanted to keep the focus on the opening of “possibly the best” mosque in the UK, which he said brings many positives to the city.
But the Labour councillor also said he does not welcome Erdoğan’s visit to the city and wishes he had not come.
Cambridgeshire police were asked to arrest Turkey’s authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for war crimes today as he visited the city to open a new eco-mosque, partly funded by Ankara.
The allegations made against him includied atrocities committed during Turkey’s recent invasion of northern Syria as well as historical crime.
Police were handed a judgement from the Permanent People’s Tribunal, which found that Mr Erdogan was responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity regarding the Kurds, including operations in Nusaybin and Cizre between 2016 and 2017.
They were also given a dossier of war crimes documented by the Rojava Information Centre, and were asked to detain Mr Erdogan for the judicial execution of Kurdish-Syrian politician Hevrin Khalaf, who was killed by Turkish-backed Ahrar al-Sharqiya jihadists on October 12.
The war crimes charges were made as Mr Erdogan arrived following a tumultuous Nato summit where he was grilled over his “ambiguous relationship with Islamic state” by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Turkey’s bullish leader cut an isolated figure as he failed to win support in his bid for the Kurdish-led People’s Protection Units (YPG) to be deemed a terrorist group by his warmongering allies. He also feebly backed down from his threats not to support Nato’s Baltic defence strategy.
His invitation to the Cambridge mosque, made by the musician Yusuf Islam, has proved controversial. Mr Erdogan has jailed many of his political opponents, including 13 MPs from Labour’s sister party, the People’s Democratic Party (HDP).
Recent figures show at least 16,300 of its activists and elected officials have been detained since 2015. More than 9,000 academics have been purged for signing a peace petition while around 170,000 public sector workers have been sacked.
Members of the Kurdish community were joined by anti-war activists, trade unionists and local Labour Party councillors in the city, protesting with chants of “Erdogan terrorist” on an impromptu march.
Kurdish People’s Assembly spokeswoman Neijla Ari paid tribute to Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones, Cambridge University students killed in an Isis attack earlier this week.
She said: “Erdogan is a war criminal and shouldn’t be welcome in Cambridge. He is the biggest supporter of Isis and is carrying out ethnic cleansing of Kurds in Turkey and Rojava.”
Ms Ari condemned the Nato war machine and called for an end to Turkey’s illegal war and occupation of northern Syria.
Cambridgeshire Labour Councillor Jocelyn Scutt warned of the attacks on women led by Mr Erdogan and the attempt to crush democracy through the arrest of journalists, politicians and academics.
“We are united and we say no to Erdogan,” she said.
Protestors were cheered by Cambridge residents as they made their way through the city centre, although they were blocked from reaching the mosque, which was protected by a heavy police presence.
Cambridgeshire Constabulary said the dossier and war crimes allegations were being investigated by the appropriate department, but said the arrest of Mr Erdogan was unlikely.