Lion cubs gifted to Erdoğan by Sudan meet zoo visitors
Four lion cubs given as a gift to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan from his Sudanese counterpart during a recent visit to the African nation went on public display on Jan. 13.
Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir announced the gift to Erdoğan during the latter’s official visit to the Horn of Africa country between Dec. 24 and 27.
The female cubs were named Nile and Sultan, while the males were named Sudan and Suakin, Gaziantep Mayor Fatma Şahin told a news conference at the Gaziantep Zoo.
She said she was told of the names during a phone conversation with Erdoğan on Jan. 12.
The lions were delivered to their new home, the biggest zoo in Turkey and the third largest in Europe.
Şahin said the cubs were being looked after very well and invited Erdoğan and his family to visit the zoo to see them.
Ciğdem Karaaslan, a ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) deputy chairwoman, said the lions were “the symbol of a strong dialogue” between Turkey and Sudan.
The party’s Gaziantep deputy Nejat Koçer said the “lions represent strength” and said they were the signs of Turkey’s and Erdoğan’s power.
An average of 3.5 million animal lovers visit the Gaziantep Zoo annually.