Erdogan again shows mosque attack video despite NZ outrage


ISTANBUL — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday showed again a gruesome video shot by the Christchurch mosque gunman as an election campaign prop despite criticism from New Zealand authorities.

On election trail for a March 31 local vote, Erdogan has projected the video and repeatedly referenced the attack that killed 50 people, saying it targeted Islam and Turkey.

The gunman’s so-called “manifesto” mentions Turkey and the minarets of Istanbul’s landmark Hagia Sophia, now a museum, that was once a church before becoming a mosque during the Ottoman empire.

New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters protested on Monday that politicization of the massacre “imperils the future and safety of the New Zealand people and our people abroad, and it’s totally unfair”.

At a rally in the northwestern city of Eskisehir, Erdogan again showed both the video and the so-called manifesto in order to attack the main opposition party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu who had warned against “terrorism rooted in the Islamic world.”

Erdogan compared Kilicdaroglu to far-right Australian Senator Fraser Anning, who drew ire for blaming the New Zealand attacks on Muslim immigration.

New Zealand authorities moved quickly to try and stop the spread of the shooter’s video, warning that anyone sharing the footage faced prosecution, and Facebook removed the images from hundreds of thousands of pages. — AFP