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Erdogan shows Christchurch terror footage at election rally

19 March 2019

President Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday called on New Zealand to restore the death penalty for the gunman who killed 50 people at two Christchurch mosques, warning that Turkey would make the attacker pay for his act if New Zealand did not.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks at a campaign rally by his Justice and Development Party and Nationalist Movement Party in Izmir, Turkey, on Sunday.

New Zealand authorities have ordered news outlets and social media users not to share the graphic content.

"What business did you have here?"

Erdogan said. "The only reason: we're Muslim, and they're Christian".

Erdogan, campaigning for local elections this month, has presented the attack as part of an assault on Turkey and Islam more broadly and projected the video of the killings at his rallies over the weekend.

"We had a long dialogue on the need for any other country, or Turkey for that matter, to ensure that our country, New Zealand, was not misrepresented", he told a press conference. At televised rallies in Istanbul and Tekirdag to the west, he showed blurred fragments of suspected attacker Brenton Tarrant's online manifesto and his livestream from the massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand, which claimed the lives of 50 people. "If you come as well like your grandfathers, be sure that you will be gone like your grandfathers".

New Zealand scolds Turkey’s Erdogan over airing massacre footage
Erdogan screens video of N.Z mosque massacres at Turkish election rally

The video prompted widespread condemnation.

Facebook said it removed 1.5 million videos of the Christchurch shootings during the first 24 hours after the massacre.

Turkey's main opposition party has also criticized Erdogan for showing the clip "for the sake of (winning) three or five votes" at the elections.

"Anything of that nature that misrepresents this country - given that [the suspect] was a non-New Zealand citizen - imperils the future and safety of the New Zealand people and our people overseas and it's totally unfair", New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters said Monday.

After his Indonesian visit, Peters said his intention was to travel to Turkey at the request of the Turkish Government, to attend a special ministerial meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation being held in Istanbul.

"Anything of that nature that misrepresents this country, given that this was a non-New Zealand citizen, imperils the future and safety of New Zealand's people and our people overseas". He made the comments in Canakkale province, northwestern Turkey which is home to the historic battlefields, on the anniversary of a World War I Turkish naval victory.

Erdogan shows Christchurch terror footage at election rally