Erdogan: Hagia Sophia will not function as a mosque

Demonstrators wave a Turkish flag during a protest against the New Zealand mosque attack in front of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul

Terrorist Brenton Tarrant makes reference to Hagia Sophia in his manifesto

"We are here to show Muslims are able to respond to them with a smart attitude", he added.

Around Christchurch, New Zealand and the world there have been vigils, prayers, memorials and messages of solidarity.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday urged New Zealand to bring justice to the victims of Friday's twin mosque attacks and hold the accused accountable.

"We have been here for 1,000 years and will be here until the apocalypse, God willing", Erdogan told a rally on Monday commemorating the 1915 Gallipoli campaign, when Ottoman soldiers defeated British-led forces including Australian and New Zealand troops trying to seize the peninsula, a gateway to Istanbul. The rallies for the March 31 election were aired live on Turkish TV.

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"We are coming for Constantinople and we will destroy every mosque and minaret in the city", Tarrant wrote, referring to Istanbul and claiming the city will be "rightfully Christian-owned once more".

"Your grandparents came here. and they returned in caskets".

"I want our Muslim community in particular to know, and the people of Christchurch to know, that we stand with you and we all share in your grief and in your pain", she 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", New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters said Monday.

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A senior Turkish security source said Tarrant had entered Turkey twice in 2016 - for a week in March and for more than a month in September. Peters, speaking to reporters Monday after a weekly cabinet meeting, said that he had raised Erdogan's use of the footage with an official Turkish delegation visiting New Zealand.

"With this attack, hostility towards Islam, that the world has been idly watching and even encouraging for some time, has gone beyond individual harassment to reach the level of mass killing", Erdogan said at the funeral of a former Turkish minister.

Describing the incident as a massacre, Anadolu news agency quoted Erdogan lashing out at one of the attackers, who prior to the attacks emailed an 87-page manifesto to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's Office, where he had allegedly mentioned about his earlier visit to Istanbul apart from propagating anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim ideas.

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Police, including heavily armed officers, flooded the area - a busy traffic intersection in a residential neighbourhood. Police say they are considering terrorism as a motive, and officials raised the country's threat level to the highest.


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