Turkey, World, Asia - Pacific

Turkey thanks N.Zealand for solidarity on terror attack

New Zealand premier Ardern's reaction should be role model for all leaders, Turkish president says

Sibel Kurtoglu, Berin Alpaslan Gokce and Etem Geylan   | 22.03.2019
Turkey thanks N.Zealand for solidarity on terror attack


Turkey praised the empathy shown by New Zealand's government in the aftermath of last week's terror attacks on two mosques that claimed at least 50 lives.

“[New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda] Ardern's reaction to the terror attack, empathy and solidarity with all Muslims should be a model for all the leaders,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting on Friday.

Friday marked exactly one week since the attacks on worshipers during prayers at the Al Noor and Linwood mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand's third-largest city.

Erdogan stressed the attacker should not be named so as not to offer him the notoriety he seeks, but his act of terror should never be forgotten.

“By giving this terrorist the punishment he deserves and revealing all his connections, we must give a very strong message to those who have the same ulterior goals,” he added.

“The OIC cannot be indifferent to events that threaten future of all humanity and Islamic world,” Erdogan added.

He said humanity should fight Islamophobia with the same determination it fought anti-Semitism after Holocaust, adding that the phenomenon is not confined to politics, civil society or scholarship, but is a key concern for leaders, security forces and people in the streets.

Speaking about U.S. President Donald Trump's pro-Israel remark, Erdogan said Muslim countries will never allow occupation of Golan Heights to be legitimized.

“The U.S. president’s unfortunate remarks on Golan Heights brought the region to the brink of a new crisis and tension,” Erdogan added.

Erdogan said the occupation of Golan Heights has forced local Arabs and Turkmens to migrate.

On Thursday, Trump said in a tweet it was time for the U.S. to recognize Israel's control of the occupied Golan Heights. 

His remark came following congressional momentum building on Capital Hill for the change. The State Department last week changed its terminology for the first time on the contested territory, referring to it as "Israeli-controlled" instead of its previous usage of "Israeli-occupied".

Israel has long pushed Washington to recognize its claim over the territory it seized from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War.

Israel occupies roughly two-thirds of the wider Golan Heights as a de facto result of the conflict. It moved to formally annex the territory in 1981 -- an action unanimously rejected at the time by the UN Security Council.

The U.S. for the first time voted against an annual UN resolution condemning Israel's control of the Golan Heights in November. In all, 151 nations voted in support, with just Israel and the U.S. voting against.

*Writing by Erdogan Cagatay Zontur, Can Erozden, Beyza Binnur Donmez and Ahmet Salih Alacaci

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