Mar 16 2019

‘Will world leaders march for Muslims killed in NZ?’ - Turkish presidential spox

Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalın on Saturday urged world leaders to show solidarity with Muslims, who were killed in terrorist attacks on two mosques in New Zealand on Friday, as they did for Charlie Hebdo victims. 

Australian Brenton Harrison Tarrant, a suspected white supremacist, was charged with murder on Saturday after 49 people were killed and dozens wounded in mass shootings in Christchurch.

The suspect once made an extended stay in Turkey, and his movements and contacts there are being investigated, a senior Turkish official told Reuters on Friday.

Kalın on Friday condemned the attack on Twitter, calling it a cowardly act that showed how anti-Muslim rhetoric and hatred led to murderous acts.

"Will those [world leaders] who marched for Charlie Hebdo victims march for the Muslims slaughtered in New Zealand too?" Kalın said in another Twitter message posted on Saturday.

Kalın was referring to a march held after a terrorist attack against French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, which left 17 people dead in 2015. Over 55 leaders from around the world attended the march in Paris to pay tribute to the victims

Turkey’s Vice President, Fuat Oktay, also on Saturday urged the international community to take action against anti-Muslim ideology, xenophobia, radicalism and racism, the Daily Sabah reported

Oktay spoke at a news conference before heading to New Zealand with Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.

"Taking effective precautions against issues linked to anti-Muslim ideology has become more than just an obligation, it has become vital. The international community must undertake responsibility in this regard," the Daily Sabah quoted Oktay as saying. 

The attack in New Zealand created an outcry among Turkey’s Islamists with many on social media calling on authorities to allow Muslim prayers in Hagia Sophia as a response.

The Hagia Sophia, originally a Greek Orthodox cathedral, was turned into a mosque by Ottoman Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror in 1453 and later became a museum after the foundation of the Turkish republic. As a symbolic move, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan led prayers at the Hagia Sophia last year in March. 

Turkey’s Islamist satirical magazine Misvak on Friday posted on Twitter an illustration by cartoonist Şahin Güneş showing an assault rifle covered with references to Ottoman sultans, military leaders and conquests, as well as to the 1915 Armenian genocide.

Many in Turkey objected to both comments on Hagia Sophia and Misvak’s illustration saying that they were examples showing how white supremacism and Islamist extremism nurturing each other. 

Turkish police detained a user on a popular social media site for allegedly praising Friday’s New Zealand mosque attack, which left 49 people dead, independent news site Diken reported on Saturday.

The chief prosecutor’s office in the southern province of Alanya ordered  the detention after police from the anti-cyber crimes department identified the user from the country’s popular portal Ekşi Sözlük following complaints, Diken said.

The Ekşi sözlük administration has since removed the user from the portal and the user remains in police custody.