New Zealand FM didn't mention shooting video to Erdogan

New Zealand FM didn't mention shooting video to Erdogan
New Zealand's foreign minister said he traveled to Istanbul to 'confront' President Erdogan over his remarks and use of the Christchurch shooting video.
2 min read
22 March, 2019
President Erdogan shakes hands with New Zealand's Foreign Minister Winston Peters during OIC Meeting [Anadolu/Getty]

New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters said on Friday that he did not ask Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan to refrain from showing the video footage of last week's Christchurch mosque shooting at election rallies, Reuters reported.

"No, I did not ask that question because I felt that I did not have to ask it, because they are not doing that anymore," Peters told reporters at a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, where he had met with Erdogan.

A diplomatic dispute was triggered between the two nations after President Erdogan showed the footage of the horrific New Zealand shooting at a series of election rallies last week, including on Thursday.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Wednesday its foreign minister will travel to Turkey to "confront" President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over his remarks on the Cristchurch shooting, a day after Peters announced he would be travelling to Turkey at Istanbul's request to attend a special meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

The emergency session of the 57-member organisation was called by Turkey to combat prejudice against Muslims in wake of the Christchurch attack. 

Peters said Erdogan reassured citizens coming to Turkey will be welcomed and the initial "misinterpretations" were all cleared up.

Erdogan's controversial election rally comments reached their height on Monday, when he said anti-Muslim attackers from Australia would be sent back in coffins "like their grandfathers were" - in reference to the battle of Gallipoli, in which 8,000 Australians died fighting Turkish forces during World War 1.

"President #Erdogan's words were unfortunately taken out of context," Fahrettin Altun, communications director for the Turkish presidency, later wrote on Twitter. "Turks have always been the most welcoming & gracious hosts to their #Anzac visitors".

Erdogan had already been sharply rebuked by New Zealand for his comments and for using gruesome video shot by the Christchurch mosque gunman as an election campaign prop.

New Zealand's Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters protested on Monday that such politicisation of the massacre "imperils the future and safety of the New Zealand people and our people abroad, and it's totally unfair".

The accused gunman, a self-avowed white supremacist from Australia, livestreamed much of the attack on Facebook and spread a manifesto on social media claiming it was a strike against Muslim "invaders".

The manifesto references Turkey and the minarets of Istanbul's famed Hagia Sophia, now a museum, that was once a church before becoming a mosque during the Ottoman Empire.

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