Erdogan airs mosque gunman video ahead visit by NZ minister

April FrancisMar 23, 2019

Erdogan aimed his comments at New Zealanders despite the fact that the mosque gunman who killed 50 people was Australian, another slap in the face to a country already suffering vast grief.

Erdogan, while campaigning for local elections, presented the attack as part of an assault on Turkey and Islam and warned anti-Muslim Australians would suffer the same fate as soldiers at Gallipoli, a blood-drenched WWI battle.

His comments drew a strong protest from Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who summoned Turkey's ambassador on Wednesday.

The Matildas are set to arrive Antalya on May 19 for a 10-day training camp - with their first match at the Women's World Cup in France against Italy on June 9.

Australians and New Zealanders did not go to Gallipoli to wage war on Islam - Turkey had signed a pact to fight for Germany, and those from Australia and NZ were sent to the ill-judged expedition against Germany's allies by British leaders.

Mr Peters also expressed his appreciation of Indonesia's support during a hard time for New Zealand.

Erdogan's remarks came in response to a tweet by Yair in which he said "I will remind him that Istanbul is actually a city called Constantinople!"

"Turks have always been the most welcoming and gracious hosts to their Anzac visitors", he added, trying to rectify the situation.

"I do not accept the excuses that have been offered for those comments", Morrison said.

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Australia's Parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Defence, Darren Chester, said on Wednesday night their Government was closely monitoring the security situation in Turkey and "regards the safety of Australians who plan to visit the Gallipoli Peninsula as its highest priority".

"All Muslims, our country, our nation and myself are targeted", he told supporters. Erdogan said. "The only reason: We're Muslim, and they're Christian".

Peters had earlier condemned the airing of footage of the shooting, which he said could endanger New Zealanders overseas.

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her foreign minister will confront Turkish officials about Erdogan's remarks when he travels to Turkey.

"They insult the memory of our Anzacs and they violate the pledge that is etched in the stone at Gallipoli of the promise of Ataturk to the mothers of our Anzacs".

A 28-year-old Australian white supremacist was charged with murder on Saturday after a lone gunman opened fire at two Christchurch mosques during Friday prayers, killing 50 people.

He also recently engaged in a war of words with Israel's prime minister and frequently slams the European Union over its immigration policies and what he says is rising Islamophobia.

"I hope he'll join with me in addressing the issues around social media when it comes to terrorist attacks", Mr Morrison said of his Turkish counterpart.

And it is even further, as Morrison and many others noted, from the sentiment towards Australia and New Zealand of Turkey under Ataturk, with his reputed comments in 1934 of onetime enemies at Gallipoli "now lying in the soil of a friendly country".

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