Metin Külünk, a former deputy from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), claimed in a speech that a massacre at two mosques in New Zealand last Friday actually targeted Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Speaking at a rally in Hakkari province for upcoming local elections, Külünk said Erdoğan’s name as well as representations of the minarets of the historic Hagia Sophia mosque in Istanbul appeared on the gunman’s weapon.
Külünk argued that the shooter targeted Erdoğan by means of the attack.
Erdoğan has been using footage of the attack that took the lives of 50 Muslims in New Zealand in his election rallies, claiming that the West remained silent in face of the attack.
Turkey’s president also said on Tuesday that if New Zealand does not punish the attacker, Turkey would, without elaborating on how. In addition, he urged New Zealand to reinstate capital punishment.
Külünk’s remarks were ridiculed on social media given the huge distance between Turkey and New Zealand. Meanwhile, New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters has slammed Erdoğan for airing during election rallies the footage of the massacre, saying that the dissemination of the video could endanger his country’s citizens.