Turkey's Erdogan cuts short US trip for Muhammad Ali tribute

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan arrives to take part in the jenazah, an Islamic funeral prayer, for the late boxing champion Muhammad Ali in Louisville, Kentucky, on June 9, 2016.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan arrives to take part in the jenazah, an Islamic funeral prayer, for the late boxing champion Muhammad Ali in Louisville, Kentucky, on June 9, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

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 (June 10).

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 1400 GMT 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.