Asia-Pacific

NZ foreign minister to 'confront' Turkish president over mosque shooting comments

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New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters will meet with Turkey's president to set the "record straight" over his comments following the mosque shootings.

Foreign Minister Winston Peters will travel to Turkey to “confront” comments made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the killing of 50 people at mosques in Christchurch.

The comments came at a campaign rally that included video footage of the shootings that the alleged gunman had broadcast on Facebook.

Mr Erdogan described the mass shooting as part of a wider attack on Turkey and threatening to send back “in caskets” like their grandfathers anyone who tried to take the battle to Istanbul.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters will travel to Turkey to “confront” comments made by Turkish President Erdogan.
New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters will travel to Turkey to “confront” comments made by Turkish President Erdogan.
AP

The statement was made at a commemoration of the 1915 Gallipoli campaign – when Ottoman soldiers defeated Australia and New Zealand forces.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the foreign minister would seek urgent clarification about those comments.

“Our deputy prime minister will be confronting those comments in Turkey,” Ms Ardern told reporters in Christchurch.

“He is going there to set the record straight, face-to-face.”

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the supporters of his ruling Justice and Development Party during a rally in Eregli, Turkey.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the supporters of his ruling Justice and Development Party during a rally in Eregli, Turkey.
Pool Presidential Press Service

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, has been charged with murder after a lone gunman opened fire at the two mosques during Friday prayers.

The Turkish president has displayed footage of the attack live-stream online at several election rallies since the incident.

New Zealand’s Foreign Minister had earlier condemned the airing of footage of the shooting, which he said could endanger New Zealanders abroad.

Despite Mr Peters’ intervention, an extract from the alleged gunamn's manifesto was flashed up on a screen at Mr Erdogan’s rally again on Tuesday, along with footage of the shooter entering one of the mosques and shooting as he approached the door.

The New Zealand foreign minister will attend an emergency meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation in Istanbul. This meeting will include foreign ministers from Iran, Libya, Indonesia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, Qatar and Somalia.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison summonsed the Turkish ambassador over the war of words.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison summonsed the Turkish ambassador over the war of words.
AAP

Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison summoned Turkey’s ambassador for a meeting, during which he demanded Erdogan’s comments be removed from Turkey’s state broadcaster.

“I will wait to see what the response is from the Turkish government before taking further action, but I can tell you that all options are on the table,” Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra.

Australia’s ambassador to Turkey would meet with members of Mr Erdogan’s government on Wednesday, Morrison said.

Mr Morrison said Canberra is also reconsidering its travel advice for Australians planning trips to Turkey.

Turkish Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said comments made by Mr Erdogan during the commemoration were taken out of context, adding he was responding to the attacker’s “manifesto”, which was posted online by the attacker and later taken down.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Scott Morrison has called Recep Erdogan's remarks 'highly offensive' to Australians.
AAP

“Turks have always been the most welcoming & gracious hosts to their Anzac visitors,” Mr Altun said on Twitter, using the abbreviation for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.

“As he was giving the speech at the Canakkale (Gallipoli) commemoration, he framed his remarks in a historical context of attacks against Turkey, past and present.”

Relations between Turkey, New Zealand and Australia have generally been good. Thousands of Australians and New Zealanders travel each year to Turkey for war memorial services.

Just over a century ago, thousands of soldiers from the ANZAC struggled ashore on a narrow beach at Gallipoli during an ill-fated campaign that would claim more than 130,000 lives.

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