Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan replayed graphic footage of New Zealand’s worst mass shooting at an election rally on Friday — just hours after that country’s foreign minister met with him and said he believed the controversial showings had stopped, Reuters reported.
New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters arrived in İstanbul on Friday to talk to Erdoğan about the footage and comments he has made on the shooting of 50 people at mosques in Christchurch a week ago, which have drawn condemnation from New Zealand and Australia.
But Peters emerged from a brief meeting with Erdoğan and struck a conciliatory tone, saying that he had not raised at the meeting some of the most controversial comments the Turkish leader has made at rallies.
He also said that he had not asked Erdoğan to stop showing the videos.
“I did not ask that question because I felt that I did not have to ask it, because they are not doing that anymore,” Peters told reporters after attending a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Two hours later, however, Erdoğan paused his speech at an election rally in the central province of Konya so that the audience could watch the footage of the shootings that the alleged gunman had live-streamed on Facebook on March 15.
The video, which governments and social media sites have attempted to take down since the incident, was blurred but the gunshots were heard.
Erdogan is seeking to drum up support for his Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the March 31 local elections. He has shown different versions of the video about a dozen times throughout the week, including on Thursday.
The massacre in New Zealand was carried out by a lone gunman at two mosques. Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, has been charged with one murder following the attack and is likely to face more charges.
In rallies across Turkey, Erdoğan has since called on New Zealand to restore the death penalty and said Turkey would make the suspected attacker pay if that country did not. Referring to a “manifesto” posted online by the attacker, he said Turkey will return “in coffins” anyone who tried to take the battle to Istanbul. Peters told reporters he had not addressed these comments with Erdoğan because he did not think it would serve a “long-term peaceful purpose,” adding that he had received assurances regarding the safety of New Zealanders visiting Turkey.