Ignoring widespread criticism, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday again showed excerpts of a video taken by the attacker who killed 50 people in mosques in New Zealand, to denounce what he called rising hatred and prejudice against Islam.
Speaking at a campaign rally in the northern town of Eregli, Erdogan also criticized New Zealand and Australia for sending troops to Turkey in the World War I Gallipoli campaign, claiming their motive was anti-Islam-oriented. He called on New Zealand to amend its laws to ensure that the attacker is severely punished.
"What business did you have here? We had no issues with you, why did you come all the way over here?" Erdogan said. "The only reason: We're Muslim, and they're Christian."
In inflammatory comments on Monday, Erdogan had also suggested that anyone who comes to Turkey with anti-Muslim sentiments would be sent back in coffins, "like their grandfathers were" during the Gallipoli campaign.
Those comments were made in Canakkale province in northwestern Turkey, which is home to the historic battlefields, on the anniversary of a World War I Turkish naval victory.
The comments drew a strong protest from Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who called in Turkey's ambassador and demanded they be withdrawn. His government issued a travel advisory warning people visiting Canakkale for the anniversary to exercise caution.
Morrison said "all options are on the table" if Erdogan does not withdraw his comments.
Hundreds of New Zealanders and Australians travel to Canakkale each year for Anzac Day on April 25, to mark the start of the battle of Gallipoli and to commemorate the dead.