Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has condemned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his comments in the wake of the mosque shootings in New Zealand, saying the comments are “highly offensive to Australians and highly reckless in this very sensitive environment.”
“I am expecting, and I have asked, for these comments to be clarified, to be withdrawn,” said Morrison after a conversation with Turkish ambassador Korhan Karakoc on Wednesday.
The PM Morrison asserted that he was not satisfied with the alibis put forth by the ambassador, who told that the comments were made “in the heat of the moment… in an electoral context.”
Morrison also warned that his country would consider “all options” in reviewing relations
The denouncement came after Erdogan’s comments on the recent mass shootings targeting
two mosques in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, which left at least 50 people dead
and dozens more wounded.
According to the New York Times, the gunman of the New Zealand mosque shootings,
identified as an Australian, posted a 78-page manifesto before the attack, stating that
Muslims should be driven out of the part of Turkey that lies west of the Bosporus.
During an election campaign, held on the 104th anniversary of Canakkale Naval Victory Day,
Erdogan presented the shooting as part of an assault on Turkey and Islam, threatening anti-
Muslim Australians, according to a news report in The Guardian on Wednesday.
“Anyone who comes to Gallipoli with anti-Muslim sentiments will be sent back in coffins like
their grandfathers at Gallipoli,” Erdogan said on Monday, referring to the bloody battle of
Gallipoli in World War I where more than 8,000 Australians died fighting Turkish forces.
Morrison emphasized that both Australian and New Zealand governments had condemned
“extremist rightwing terrorism” and offered support to their Muslim communities immediately after the mass shootings.
Australian PM also accused Erdogan of betraying the promise of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the
founding father of the modern Republic of Turkey, to forge peace between the two
“Ataturk sought to transform his country into a modern and an embracing nation, and I think these [Erdogan’s] comments are at odds with that spirit,” Morrison underlined.
Morrison further said that Australia will review its travel advisory for Turkey, a warning for
Australians not to travel to Turkey for Anzac Day commemorations at Gallipoli, usually
attended by thousands annually on 25 April.