New Zealand foreign minister to visit Turkey to confront Erdoğan’s comments on mosque shooting

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New Zealand Parliament

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Wednesday Foreign Minister Winston Peters would travel to Turkey to “confront” comments made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on the killing of at least 50 people at mosques in Christchurch, Reuters reported.

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, was charged with murder on Saturday after a lone gunman opened fire at the two mosques during Friday prayers.

Erdoğan — who is seeking to drum up support for his Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) in March 31 local elections — said Turkey would make the suspected attacker pay if New Zealand did not.

The comments came at a campaign rally that included video footage of the shootings which the alleged gunman had broadcast on Facebook.

Ardern said Peters would seek urgent clarification.

“Our deputy prime minister will be confronting those comments in Turkey,” Ardern told reporters in Christchurch. “He is going there to set the record straight, face-to-face.”

Peters had earlier condemned the airing of footage of the shooting, which he said could endanger New Zealander’s abroad. Despite Peters’ intervention, an extract from Tarrant’s alleged manifesto was flashed up on a screen at Erdoğan’s rally again on Tuesday, along with footage of the gunman entering one of the mosques and shooting as he approached the door.

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