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Tote bei Angriffen auf Moscheen

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan: The New Zealand killer and the Islamic State are cut from the same cloth


Recep Tayyip Erdogan is president of Turkey.

Fifty innocent people lost their lives in last week’s terrorist attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand. Dozens of other Muslims, who had gathered at local mosques to perform the Friday prayer, survived the assault with injuries. There were many historical references on the murder weapons and in a manifesto that the suspected terrorist published online. The number of times he mentioned both Turkey and myself was both curious and worth deeper consideration.

In the wake of the New Zealand attack, Turkish authorities discovered that Brenton Harrison Tarrant, the alleged gunman, had visited Turkey twice in 2016 and spent time in various parts of the country. Moreover, we established that Tarrant traveled to a number of other places — including Morocco, Israel and Croatia. Turkish intelligence and law enforcement agencies, in cooperation with New Zealand and others, continue their efforts to shed light on what happened and to prevent future attacks.

The Christchurch massacre’s alleged perpetrator attempted to legitimize his twisted views by distorting world history and the Christian faith. He sought to plant seeds of hate among fellow humans. As a leader who has repeatedly stressed that terrorism has no religion, language or race, I categorically reject any attempt to associate last week’s terrorist attacks with the teachings, morals or maxims of Christianity. If anything, what happened in New Zealand was the toxic product of ignorance and hate.

This is not the first time the Turkish people have witnessed a gross distortion of history in the hands of terrorists. Viewing history through the lens of its radical ideology, the self-proclaimed Islamic State, a terrorist organization that has killed thousands of predominantly Muslim civilians in recent years, called for the “reconquest” of Istanbul — much like the Christchurch attacker, who pledged in his manifesto to make the city “rightfully christian owned once more.” The Islamic State similarly vowed to destroy the Republic of Turkey — one of the reasons Turkish troops cracked down so hard on the terror group in Syria.

In this regard, we must establish that there is absolutely no difference between the murderer who killed innocent people in New Zealand and those who have carried out terrorist acts in Turkey, France, Indonesia and elsewhere.

After attacks by the Islamic State, there was no shortage of Western politicians and commentators blaming the most deplorable acts of terrorism on Islam and Muslims — people whose opinions are very much aligned with the Australian senator Fraser Anning. At the time, we objected to the association of our faith with terrorism, and pledged to disallow any attempt by terrorists to hijack our religion. Unfortunately, Islamophobia and xenophobia, among other practices incompatible with liberal values, were met with silence in Europe and other parts of the Western world. We cannot afford to allow this again. If the world wants to prevent future assaults similar to the one in New Zealand, it must start by establishing that what happened was the product of a coordinated smear campaign.





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