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NZ FM heads to Turkey over Erdogan mosque remarks

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 20, 2019 - Duration: 01:50s

NZ FM heads to Turkey over Erdogan mosque remarks

New Zealand's Foreign Minister will travel to Turkey to "confront" comments made by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on the killing of at least 50 people at mosques in Christchurch.

Emily Wither reports.

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NZ FM heads to Turkey over Erdogan mosque remarks

(SOUNDBITE) (English) NEW ZEALAND'S PRIME MINISTER, JACINDA ARDERN, SAYING: "Yeah and as I say, our deputy prime minister will be confronting those (comments) directly in Turkey." New Zealand's leader says the foreign minister will be heading to Turkey to confront comments made by Turkey's president on the Christchurch mosque attacks.

During campaign rallies Erdogan has called on New Zealand to restore the death penalty for a gunman who killed at least 50 people, warning that Turkey would make the attacker pay for his act if New Zealand did not.

He also showed extracts from the suspect's alleged "manifesto" and video footage of the shootings which were broadcast on Facebook.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS CORRESPONDENT, EMILY WITHER, SAYING: "Erdogan has seized on the Christchurch attack ahead of local elections here in Turkey using them to as a rallying cry to whip up nationalist sentiment and drum up support for his Islamist-rooted AK Party.

But his critics say it's an excellent opportunity to distract voters away from domestic issues, like the economy as it tips in to recession.

He's cast these elections as a 'matter of survival' against incidents like the New Zealand shooting and Islamophobia." Erdogan has said the gunman issued threats against him and the country.

The president's firm response causing alarm in not only New Zealand but Australia too - where the suspect is from.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER SCOTT MORRISON SAYING: "Remarks have been made by the Turkish president Erdogan that I consider highly offensive to Australians and highly reckless in this very sensitive environment." The country's prime minister summoned Turkey's ambassador and says they're reconsidering its travel advice for Australians planning trips to Turkey.

New Zealand's foreign minister says he'll now be going to Turkey to set the record straight face to face.

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