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(CNSNews.com) – Turkey’s Islamist president is using last week’s mass shooting at two mosques in New Zealand as an election campaign prop, airing excerpts of the graphic video filmed by the shooter and making dark references to Australian and New Zealanders’ role in a military campaign in Turkey a century ago.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s provocative tactics have drawn sharp from criticism from the two governments.
Government - Elections - March - Erdogan - Week
Campaigning ahead of local government elections on March 31, Erdogan this week invoked both national and religious sentiment, telling cheering supporters that anyone traveling to Turkey with ill intent would meet the fate handed out to their “grandfathers.”
“You came to Gallipoli from 16,500 kilometers away” the Hurriyet daily quoted him as telling one rally, on Tuesday. “What were you doing here? You showed up from Australia. After all these years, they still have hatred against us. The only reason is we’re Muslims, they are Christians.”
Rally - Day - Canakkale - Gallipoli - Erdogan
At another rally a day earlier, at Canakkale near Gallipoli, Erdogan was quoted as saying that “the enemies of Muslims have shown that they continue to hate us.”
“They are testing us by sending a message from New Zealand, from 16,500 kilometers away,” he said in reference to last Friday’s attacks at two mosques in Christchurch.
Gunman - Australian - Brenton - Tarrant - Connection
The accused gunman, 28-year-old Australian, Brenton Tarrant, has been charged in connection with the attack, which cost the lives of 50 people.
“Your grandfathers came here and saw that we were here, and then some returned … in coffins,” Erdogan continued, clearly referencing the Gallipoli campaign.
Intentions - Doubt - Grandfathers
“If you come here with the same intentions, then we are waiting for you. Have no doubt, we will send you back like we did your grandfathers.”
More than 8,000 Australians and 2,700 New Zealanders died when Allied forces launched an assault on the Turkish peninsula in April 2015, in a drive aimed at disabling...
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