Turkey's leader denies plans for naval base in Sudan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has denied that his country is constructing a naval base on Sudan's Red Sea coast, saying Turkey plans to restore Ottoman-era ruins in the area.

In comments published in Hurriyet newspaper on Thursday, Erdogan also says his government "laughed" off a request for Turkey to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir during an Islamic summit in Istanbul this month. Al-Bashir is on the International Criminal Court's wanted list for war crimes in Darfur.

Erdogan says Turkey is not a party to the ICC's founding treaty.

Asked about reports that Turkey would build a naval base at Sudan's port of Suakin, Erdogan told a group of journalists on his return from an Africa visit that included Sudan: "There is no such thing as a military port."