Last week’s terror attacks in New Zealand that killed at least 50 mosque worshippers were not “an individual act, but organized,” Turkey’s president said Monday.
“We speak once again from Canakkale after 104 years, and say we have received your message,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said during ceremonies marking the 104th anniversary of the Battle of Canakkale, commemorating the martyrs in the historic victory.
“We also understand your feelings and intentions. We understand that your grudge, hatred is alive,” Erdogan continued. “We understand that you begrudge us the lands that we live in and the breath we inhale."
“We also understand what kind of terrorist it is who expresses the threat 'You will not go from the Anatolian side to the European side',” said Erdogan, referring to the Islamophobic manifesto posted online by the accused terrorist in the attacks. “This was not an individual act, but organized.”
In a phone call, Erdogan also offered condolences to the families of victims in the attack.
“We expect the New Zealand government to take this issue seriously,” he said.
“It should not be downplayed, like Western countries do."
At least 50 people were killed when a terrorist opened fire on worshippers during Friday prayers last week at the Al Noor and Linwood mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
About as many were injured, with several still in critical condition.
‘You can't make Istanbul into Constantinople’
“We're here; we're in Canakkale. We're in this country with Thrace and Anatolia; we're here with Turks, Kurds, Arabs, Circassians, Bosnians, and Roma people, we're in Canakkale, in Turkey,” Erdogan said.
“We've been here for a thousand year and we will be here until Judgment Day. You can't make Istanbul into Constantinople,” he added, again referring to the terrorist’s manifesto.
“Your grandfathers came and saw that we're here. Then some of them walked back, while others left in coffins,” Erdogan said, referring to enemy forces during wartime.
“If you come with the same intention, we'll be waiting for you,” he said, warning they would be sent off just like their ancestors “without doubt.”
Erdogan said that if they came with friendly intentions, they are welcome. However, if they come in hostility, Turkish people will act accordingly, just like they dealt with Daesh and the PKK/PYD terrorists along the Syria border.
Writing By Erdogan Cagatay