Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan joined British singer-songwriter Yusuf Islam at the official opening of an eco-friendly mosque in Cambridge.
The leader, who was in the UK for a Nato summit in Watford, arrived at the place of worship in a black Range Rover flanked by police outriders.
His convoy drove straight into the mosque’s underground car park, past a small group of supporters with Turkish flags and a press pen on the closed street.
He was reportedly invited to Cambridge Central Mosque by Mr Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, who is patron of the Cambridge Mosque Trust according to the mosque’s website.
Mr Islam was seen arriving at the mosque, in Mill Road, separately on Thursday morning ahead of the president’s arrival.
There was a heavy police presence in the area with several residential roads surrounding the mosque closed.
Demonstrations against Mr Erdogan’s visit took place in King’s Parade, well away from the mosque, with protesters carrying banners.
One group, including Cambridge Stop The War Coalition and Cambridge Kurdistan Society, wrote on Facebook: ‘We will be standing in solidarity with the Kurdish community against Turkish war crimes and against the oppression of any who dare to protest against the Turkish Government.’
The mosque is described on its website as ‘Europe’s first eco-mosque’ which has green features including air-source heat pumps, rainwater harvesting and solar panels.
It was funded by more than 10,000 donations, ‘private and public, local and international’, according to the mosque’s website.
The site said: ‘The main donor has been a consortium of government agencies in the Republic of Turkey, together with a Turkish private company (Yapi Merkezi), and the Qatar National Fund.’
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