March 20, 2019 11:25:49

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has slammed Turkey’s President and threatened further action for “deeply offensive” comments besmirching Anzacs and threatening violence to Australians and New Zealanders following the Christchurch massacre.

Key points:

  • Scott Morrison is demanding answers over comments the Turkish President made after the Christchurch shooting
  • Tayyip Erdogan warned Australian and NZ citizens who came to Turkey with anti-Muslim sentiments would be sent back in coffins
  • Turkey’s ambassador will have to explain to Mr Morrison why the comments were made

Australia will review its travel advice for Turkey following President Tayyip Erdogan’s threats Australians visiting Gallipoli would return in coffins like their grandparents if they came to the country with anti-Muslim sentiment.

Mr Morrison summoned the Turkish ambassador Korhan Karakoç to Parliament House this morning and left the meeting warning he would take further action.

“I do not accept the excuses that have been offered for those comments,” Mr Morrison told reporters after his meeting with the ambassador.

Mr Erdogan criticised the Anzacs for their role in the Gallipoli campaign and threatened to return anyone who came to his country with anti-Islam sentiment back in coffins.

Mr Morrison said he had spoken with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and would continue to liaise with the New Zealand Government in response to the comments.

He said he wanted the comments withdrawn and the state broadcaster to revoke its “misrepresentation” of Australian policy.

Mr Morrison said failure to do that would prompt further action.

“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,” he said.

The Government has not released a timeframe for how long it would take to review Australia’s travel advisory for visitors to Turkey.

Mr Erdogan claimed the mosque attacks in New Zealand were part of a wider attack on Turkey and evidence of global anti-Muslim sentiment.

Before speaking with the ambassador, Mr Morrison told the ABC he was “very offended” with Mr Erdogan’s remarks.

“I don’t find these comments very helpful,” he said.

“I don’t find them very accurate or truthful as well, because the actions of the Australian and New Zealand government[s] have been consistent with our values of welcoming and supporting people from all around the world.”

Australian Brenton Tarrant is facing murder charges in New Zealand after a lone gunman opened fire at two mosques during prayers on Friday.

The massacre killed 50 people and left dozens of people injured.

Mr Erdogan, who has been touring the country ahead of local elections later this month, again showed excerpts of a video taken by the attacker during the mosque shootings and denounced what he called rising hatred and prejudice against Islam.

He criticised New Zealand and Australia for sending troops to Turkey in the World War I Gallipoli campaign, claiming their motive was anti-Islam-oriented.

“Your grandparents came here … and they returned in caskets,” he said.

“Have no doubt we will send you back like your grandfathers.”

Mr Erdogan said Turkey was wrong to have abolished the death penalty 15 years ago, and added that New Zealand should make legal arrangements so the Christchurch gunman could face capital punishment.

“Australia has denounced, New Zealand has denounced, absolutely and completely, the act of extremist right-wing terrorism, white supremacist terrorism that we saw in New Zealand,” Mr Morrison said before meeting with the ambassador.

“We could not have been more forward leaning in offering our great condolence and support to the Muslim community both in New Zealand and in Australia.

“I find the responsibility, in these situations, of all leaders is to take the temperature down on these issues, and I don’t intend to seek to escalate that in the response I’m giving today.”





First posted

March 20, 2019 08:32:16

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