New Zealand FM heads to Turkey to 'confront' Erdogan's comments on massacre

Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has penned an op-ed praising Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has penned an op-ed praising Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

New Zealand's foreign minister, Winston Peters, hit out at the move saying such politicization of the attacks "imperils the future and safety of the New Zealand people and our people overseas, and it's totally unfair".

"We have been here for 1,000 years and will be here until the apocalypse, God willing", Erdogan told a rally on Monday.

"I don't find them very accurate or truthful as well, because the actions of the Australian and New Zealand governments have been consistent with our values of welcoming and supporting people from all around the world".

The comments come after Australian white supremacist Brenton Tarrant, 28, was charged with murder on Saturday after a lone gunman opened fire at two Christchurch mosques during Friday prayers, killing 50 people.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

The bodies of 30 victims had been approved for release to be reunited with their families, Ardern said.

Later on Wednesday, a senior aide to Erdogan said the Turkish leader was responding to the manifesto released by the killer.

The newspaper published an op-ed by Erdogan titled "The New Zealand killer and the Islamic State are cut from the same cloth", in which he argued that "the terrorists may have different ideologies but their attitudes are eerily similar".

Morrison said Australia's ambassador to Turkey will on Wednesday meet with the members of Erdogan's government.

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Acting RSL chairman John King said he fears Australians travelling to Gallipoli to commemorate Anzac Day may feel threatened following the comments, The Australian reported.

The Australian PM has demanded the withdrawal of "offensive remarks" by the Turkish president, who invoked the deaths of soldiers form Australia and New Zealand in the Ottoman Empire when criticizing the Christchurch mass shooter.

In 2017, in the run-up to a referendum on expanding the powers of Turkey's president, Erdogan had lashed out at the Netherlands and Germany, comparing them to Nazis after they barred Turkish officials from holding campaign rallies there.

In response, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has warned President Erdogan all diplomatic options are on the table.

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The prime minister summoned Turkish ambassador Korhan Karakoc to Parliament House yesterday to explain the remarks and tell him the president should withdraw them.

"I've asked for these comments, particularly their reporting of the misrepresented position of Australia on Turkish television, the state-sponsored broadcaster, to be taken down and I expect that to occur".

The travel advisory for Turkey is under review.

Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is now campaigning for his party ahead of local elections on March 31, referred to the mass killings of Muslims in New Zealand during several rallies.

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In the piece, Erdogan also called on Western leaders to learn from "the courage, leadership and sincerity" of New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and "embrace Muslims living in their respective countries".

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