Turkish President Invokes Anzacs In 'Outrageous' Christchurch Terror Comments
Armenian leaders in Australia and New Zealand have slammed the Turkish president's threat to return those who stand against "Turks, Muslims and all the oppressed" in coffins, in response to the Christchurch terror attack.
In a speech on Monday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly invoked the Anzac campaign at Gallipoli, as he presented the attack on two Christchurch mosques as part of a wider assault on Turkey.
"They are testing us from 16,500 km away, from New Zealand, with the messages they are giving from there," he said, according to a report in Turkish website Hurriyet News Daily.
He referred to allied forces from Australia and New Zealand who fought at Gallipoli during World War I, threatening to "re-write history" should anyone "stand against Turks, Muslims and all the oppressed".
The president said the alleged shooter in the NZ rampage had visited Turkey twice, once for a short visit and a longer second visit. Erdogan warned against any action on Turkish interests, as mentioned in the man's alleged manifesto.
"Your grandparents came, some of them returned in coffins," he said, referring to Australian and NZ soldiers.
"If you come as well, like your grandfathers, be sure that you will be gone like your grandfathers."
Haig Kayserian, Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of Australia, accused the president of manipulating the terror attack and the Anzac relationship to "spread more hate".
"What happened in Christchurch was a terrorist hate crime, and must be condemned as many in the world have rightly done," he said.
"He is disrespecting Anzacs by referring to their return to Australia and New Zealand in coffins, while at the same time threatening those of our citizens who wish to pay respects to the memory of our Anzacss in Gallipoli."
Chairperson of the Armenian National Committee of New Zealand, Hoory Yeldizian, said Erdogan had showed "insensitivity and international thuggery".
Erdogan was speaking at an event at Canakkale, near the Gallipolli peninsula, to mark the defeat of the allied forces -- and in the lead up to municipal elections for his party on March 31.
At an earlier campaign rally, he showed video footage of the terror attack, which he claimed was a sign of "rising Islamaphobia" that was being ignored by the West.
Featured image: AAP