Turkey's Erdoğan urges New Zealand to restore death penalty for gunman of mosque attacks
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday urged New Zealand to restore the death penalty for the gunman who killed 50 people at two mosques and warned Turkey would make the attacker pay for his action if New Zealand did not, news website T24 reported.
"You heinously killed 50 of our brothers and sisters. You will pay for this. If New Zealand doesn’t make you [pay], we know how to make you pay one way or another,” Erdoğan said during an election rally for his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the northern district of Ereğli.
The Turkish president said abolishing the death penalty in Turkey 15 years ago was a wrong decision, adding that New Zealand should make legal arrangements so that the mosque attacker could face maximum punishment.
“If the New Zealand parliament doesn’t make this decision, I will continue to argue this with them constantly. The necessary action needs to be taken,” he said.
On Sunday, Erdoğan, who is seeking to bolster support for his AKP to maintain control of the country’s big cities in the March 31 local elections, played video footage at an election rally of the attack in two New Zealand mosques as recorded by Australian gunman Brenton Tarrant.
New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters said Turkey showing the video was "unfair" and endangered his country's citizens abroad, according to New York Times.
The footage has been classified as an objectionable publication and it is an offence to distribute or possess in New Zealand.
Turkey's main opposition party has also criticised Erdoğan for showing the clip "for the sake of (winning) three or five votes" at the elections.
Social media companies are scrambling to take down copies of the video which were uploaded by Tarrant’s supporters.
Erdoğan’s events are broadcast live on several Turkish news channels, meaning that a large proportion of the population, including children, would have seen it.
The gunman is reported to have visited several Turkish cities at three different times in 2016, according to Turkish state broadcaster TRT. His connections in Turkey are investigated by the authorities.