Turkey's Erdogan calls on New Zealand to restore death penalty over shooting

Leroy Wright
March 20, 2019

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will summon Turkey's ambassador and demand an explanation after the country's President cited the Gallipoli campaign and threatened Australians and New Zealanders following the Christchurch massacre.

Speaking at a campaign rally in the northern town of Eregli, Erdogan also criticized New Zealand and Australia for sending troops to Turkey in the World War I Gallipoli campaign, claiming their motive was anti-Islam-oriented.

Mr Morrison said the comments were "highly offensive. and highly reckless in this very sensitive environment", adding that they "insult the memory of the Anzacs".

"I am expecting, and I have asked, for these comments to be clarified, to be withdrawn".

Armenian National Committee of Australia executive director Haig Kayserian said the Turkish president's comments were outrageous.

"All Muslims, our country, our nation and myself are targeted", he told his supporters.

That earned a rebuke from New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters, who said he told Turkey's foreign minister and vice president that showing the video could endanger New Zealanders overseas.

He made the comments in Canakkale province, northwestern Turkey which is home to the historic battlefields, on the anniversary of a World War I Turkish naval victory.

Ignoring widespread criticism, Erdoğan again showed excerpts of a video taken by the attacker who killed 50 people in mosques in New Zealand, to denounce what he called rising hatred and prejudice against Islam.

He said: "Anything of that nature that misrepresents this country - given that the suspect was a non-New Zealand citizen - imperils the future and safety of the New Zealand people and our people overseas and it's totally unfair".

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Peters had earlier condemned the airing of footage of the shooting, which he said could endanger New Zealander's aboard.

Police have charged a 28-year-old Australian citizen with murder for killing at least 50 people at two mosques during Friday prayers.

Turkey is a member of G20, the global forum which Australia is seeking agreement to act on social media companies broadcasting terror attacks like the Christchurch shootings.

In a manifesto, Tarrant said, "We are coming to Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) and we will destroy every mosque and minaret in the city", after he had visited Greece in 2016 and studied the ancient conflict between Greece and Turkey.

"There are 1.6 million Arabs living in Israel", Erdogan's office said, adding, "when will Western countries wake up and follow up on this racism or will they be silenced under pressure?" "Have no doubt we will send you back like your grandfathers", Erdogan said.

He compared the attack to those carried out by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, ISIS).

Winston Peters attacked Recep Tayyip Erdogan views and said his speech could put the lives of New Zealand nationals overseas at risk.

In a parallel development, New Zealand's Foreign Minister Winston Peters said that he had told his Turkish counterpart that the horrific video didn't represent his country, and added that the clip could endanger Kiwis overseas.

"As a leader who has repeatedly stressed that terrorism has no religion, language or race, I categorically reject any attempt to associate last week's terrorist attacks with the teachings, morals or maxims of Christianity", he wrote.

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