New Zealand attack shows growing hostility to Islam: Erdoğan
“With this attack, hostility towards Islam, that the world has been idly watching and even encouraging for some time, has gone beyond individual harassment to reach the level of mass killing,” Erdogan said at the funeral of a former Turkish minister.
Turkish media reported the so-called manifesto of the attacker contained specific references to Turkey and ridding the famed Hagia Sophia in Istanbul of its minarets.
Now a museum, the building was once a church before being turned into a mosque during the Ottoman empire. Also, a photo of the rifle the attacker used shows “Vienna 1683” written on it, which marks the date of the second siege of Vienna by the Ottoman Empire.
Also on the rifles, crawled in English and several Eastern European languages were the names of numerous historical military figures- many of them Europeans involved in fighting the Ottoman forces in the 15th and 16th centuries.
“It is clear that the understanding represented by the killer that also targets our country, our people and myself, has started to take over Western societies like cancer.”
The Turkish leader, who often criticizes Islamophobic attitudes, called for the West to act to prevent similar attacks.
“If measures are not taken right away, news of other disasters will follow this one. I am calling on the world, in particular, the West, to take quick measures,” he said.
In another speech, during an election rally in the southeastern Gaziantep province on March 15 Erdoğan said: “As Muslims, we will never come to heel and never come down to the level of these cowards.”
Erdogan added that Turkey will continue to take the same stance “whenever innocents die. “He also said that three Turkish citizens have been wounded in the attack, none of them carry life-threatening injuries.
His spokesman Ibrahim Kalın called it a “fascist” attack that “shows how anti-Muslim rhetoric and hatred leads to murderous acts. The world must break its silence over Islamophobic hatred.”