The Washington Post was blasted on Wednesday for giving Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a platform in the wake of the New Zealand mass shooting, as he used video of the attack during his election campaign rallies in Turkey.
The newspaper published an op-ed by Erdogan titled “The New Zealand killer and the Islamic State are cut from the same cloth”, in which he argued that “the terrorists may have different ideologies but their attitudes are eerily similar”.
Social media users and news editors suggested that President Erdogan was using the mass shooting that killed 50 Muslims to boost his image ahead of upcoming elections in Turkey:
Why the hell would you run a piece from erdogan.— Ordoliberal (@0rdoLiberalism) 20 марта 2019 г.
Erdogan writing so often in your paper!!!! Did he become an editor?!!!— Heavenly breez 🇦🇪🇸🇦 (@khalifa4) 20 марта 2019 г.
Why is the @washingtonpost giving Erdogan — who showed the Facebook video of the #Christchurch terrorist mass murder at a political rally — space on this issue? He blatantly exploited the killings, violating the dignity of those killed, to score political points. pic.twitter.com/HdjyLZ2tfi— Christian Christensen (@ChrChristensen) 20 марта 2019 г.
Erdogan, meanwhile, is using the Christchurch attack to distract from domestic issues ahead of next week's local elections, broadcasting the attack footage at rallies to whip up nationalist/religious sentiment— Zia Weise (@ZiaWeise) 20 марта 2019 г.
Erdogan shows footage from the very massacre he denounces in this "opinion" piece at his election rallies without an ounce of shame, also desecrated the century old peaceful discourse over Gallipoli by threatening both Aussies&Kiwis in a speech, yet you give him space! Bravo!— S.Anıl Yılmaz #Hayır (@sanilyilmaz) 20 марта 2019 г.
So I guess he had to write the op-ed himself because he's put all the Turkish journalists in jail— Melek Ortabasi (@MOrtabasi) 20 марта 2019 г.
In a parallel development, Erdogan faced criticism from New Zealand and Australia after he blasted the two countries for sending troops to Turkey in the World War I Gallipoli campaign, claiming that their motive was anti-Islam-oriented.
He then warned that anyone who comes to Turkey with anti-Muslim sentiments would be sent back in coffins:
"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", Erdogan said.
His incendiary remarks caused trouble for Turkish Ambassador to Australia Korhan Karakoc, who was summoned by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
“Remarks have been made by Turkish President Erdogan that I consider highly offensive to Australians, and highly reckless in this very sensitive environment. They are offensive because they insult the memory of our Anzacs and they violate the pledge that is etched in the stone at Gallipoli. I do not accept the excuses that have been offered for those comments", Morrison said, adding that he was considering taking further action against Ankara.
The developments come five days after a 28-year-old Australian, Brenton Harrison Tarrant, livestreamed his shooting attack on two Christchurch mosques that claimed the lives of 50 Muslims.
The perpetrator, who is said to have wanted to “take revenge” for Europeans killed in terror attacks committed by Muslims, was charged with murder and ordered to remain in custody until 5 April.