Australian PM slams Erdogan for 'coffin' remarks

"Your grandparents came here … and they returned in caskets," Erdogan said.

Sara Rubenstein,

Turkish President Erdogan
Turkish President Erdogan
Reuters

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison slammed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday for his comments on the New Zealand massacre, calling them "reckless and highly offensive" and stressed that he is weighing "all options" in maintaining ties with Turkey and is reviewing its travel advice for Australian citizens to Turkey.

Erdogan threatened on Monday that anyone entering Turkey with anti-Muslim attitudes would be sent back in coffins, a reference to the Battle of Gallipoli during World War I which ended in a major Turkish victory over the Allies, including Australian and New Zealand troops.

"Your grandparents came here … and they returned in caskets," Erdogan said.

Over 8,000 Australians died at the Battle of Gallipoli, and hundreds of tourists from New Zealand and Australia travel to Canakkale each year for Anzac Day on April 25 to commemorate those slain in the battle.

Erdogan has been touring Turkey in his election campaign for his Islamic AK Party in anticipation of local elections on March 31. Speaking at an election rally on the Gallipoli peninsula on Monday, he claimed that the mosque attacks in New Zealand were "part of a wider attack on Turkey" and proved a worldwide anti-Muslim prejudice.

The Turkish President has also been playing clips of the video filmed by the gunman during the mosque shootings to thousands of people at his rallies and on national TV despite widespread opposition, even by his own countrymen.

Erdagan also bemoaned the fact that Turkey abolished the death penalty 15 years ago and expressed his opinion that New Zealand should use any legal means possible to ensure that the Christchurch perpetrator receives the death penalty.

Prime Minister Morrison summoned the Turkish ambassador Korhan Karakoç to Parliament House on Wednesday morning for an urgent meeting in wake of Erdogan's inflammatory comments.

"I do not accept the excuses that have been offered for those comments," Mr Morrison said to the media following his meeting with the ambassador.




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