It cannot be denied that the terrorist responsible for the attacks on two Christchurch mosques which took the lives of 50 people, explicitly threatened Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as a target for a future attack. The terrorist likewise make explicit threats to commit wide ranging attacks against Turkey, including the city of Istanbul, its great monuments and its holy sites. As such, it would have been remiss for any Turkish leader not to directly address the terrorist who unlike his victims remains alive and in good physical health.
Erdoğan began his remarks by saying that in the spirit of Atatürk, all Australians and New Zealanders would be welcome in Turkey to pay their respects to those who perished at Çanakkale. However, Erdoğan further stated that no terrorists trying to enter Turkey will be able to get away with any provocations against the Turkish state, Turkish people and Turkish holy sites. The Turkish President told his supporters:
“What business did you have here? We had no issues with you, why did you come all the way over here? The only reason: We’re Muslim, and they’re Christian….They are testing us from 16,500 km away, from New Zealand, with the messages they are giving from there. This isn’t an individual act, this is organised…Your grandparents came here… and they returned in caskets. Have no doubt we will send you back like your grandfathers”.
This statement was not a threat to any peace loving people but was an assurance to the Turkish nation that the Republic of Turkey will not allow foreign terrorists to cause harm to the people and to their places of worship. It is inconceivable that any rational person could feel threatened by this remark. In fact, it is highly likely that those with unconscious feelings of Islamophobia or hatred against Turkishness would take offence to a Turkish President vowing to uphold the safety and dignity of Turkey after a savage terrorist who killed 50 Muslims at prayer vowed further attacks against Turkish mosques, Turkish territory and the elected Turkish President.
This is why it is nothing sort of astonishing that the governments of both Australia (birth place of the terrorist) and New Zealand have lodged protests against President Erdoğan. When after the 9/11 attacks, George W. Bush told the world “you are either with us or you are with the terrorists”, the Australian and New Zealand governments supported Washington. Now when Erdoğan vows to fight terrorism, Canberra and Wellington claim to be upset.
Could it be that politicians in Australia and New Zealand somehow believe that a white Protestant like George W. Bush somehow has more of a right to fight terrorism than a Sunni Muslim Turk like Recep Tayyip Erdoğan? It is certainly clear that some politicians feel that way. The Islamophobia among some white Australian politicians was made abundantly clear when Australian Senator Fraser Anning produced a statement that excoriated Muslims for being Muslims whilst more or less excusing the atrocities in Christchurch.
Unlike most Arab leaders who have become complacent, compliant and virtually invisible when it comes to major issues effecting Islamic majority nations, Turkey’s President is a vocal champion for the rights of Muslims throughout the world whether in Palestine or in Oceania. When it comes specifically to the terrorist from Australia, Erdoğan has done what any responsible leader would do in defending his nation against monstrous threats that could have otherwise kept small children awake at night in fear.
Today though, Turkish children need not fear for their safety. The might of President Erdoğan and the Turkish Army will defend them from any and all terrorist attacks whether from white supremacists, Christian terrorists, Daesh terrorists, PKK terrorists or FETO terrorists.