New Zealand’s foreign minister will travel to Turkey to “confront” comments made by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan after a terror attack at mosques in Christchurch, prime minister Jacinda Ardern has said.
The terrorist from Australia, Brenton Tarrant, 28, was charged with murder on Saturday 16 March. He opened fire at two mosques during Friday prayers, killing at least 50 people.
Mr Erdogan said Turkey would make the terrorist pay if New Zealand did not.
The comments came at a campaign rally that included video footage of the terror attack which the gunman had broadcast on Facebook.
Ms Ardern said foreign minister Winston Peters would seek urgent clarification.
“Our deputy prime minister will be confronting those comments in Turkey,” she told reporters in Christchurch on Wednesday 20 March.
“He is going there to set the record straight, face to face.”
Mr Peters had earlier condemned the airing of footage of the terror attack, which he said could endanger New Zealanders abroad.
But despite the politician’s intervention, an extract from Mr Tarrant’s alleged manifesto flashed up on a screen at the rally in Turkey again on Tuesday 19 March. It came along with footage of the terrorist entering one of the mosques and shooting as he approached the door.
Meanwhile, Australian prime minister Scott Morrison said he summoned Turkey’s ambassador for a meeting. In the meeting, he demanded Mr Erdogan’s comments be removed from Turkey’s state broadcaster.
He told reporters in Canberra: “I will wait to see what the response is from the Turkish government before taking further action, but I can tell you that all options are on the table.”
Mr Morrison said Australia’s ambassador to Turkey will meet with members of Mr Erdogan’s government on Wednesday 20 March.
He said Canberra is also reconsidering its travel advice for Australians planning trips to Turkey.
Relations between Turkey, New Zealand and Australia have generally been good.
Thousands of Australians and New Zealanders travel to Turkey for memorial services every year on 25 April to commemorate Anzac Day, which remembers all those who have served and died in wars and conflicts.