Turkey says it will welcome Sudan's leader even though he has been indicted for orchestrating crimes against humanity in Darfur.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is free to join an Istanbul summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. The 57-nation group holds its main meetings Monday.

Erdogan said Sunday that Turkey respects human rights and would not hesitate to challenge al-Bashir if it believed he had committed atrocities. But Erdogan said he doesn't believe that Sudanese paramilitary forces committed acts of genocide against African residents of Darfur.

Turkey does not recognize the International Criminal Court, the Netherlands-based body that in March issued an arrest warrant for al-Bashir.