New Zealand mosque attacker took history route in Turkey
The Australian man facing trial with murder for killing at least 50 Muslims in terrorist shootings at two New Zealand mosques in city of Christchurch, was an incessant traveler who even came to Turkey twice, visiting historic areas of the country.
The perpetrator, identified as Brenton Tarrant in a Christchurch court, entered Turkey in 2016 and spent more than 45 days in the country, senior Turkish officials have found out upon initial enquiry, local media has reported.
As details over Tarrant’s travel patterns emerged, it was detected that the white supremacist traveled Turkey between Sept. 13 and Oct. 25, 2016 and March 17-20, 2016.
Istanbul’s Police Department along with Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) have commenced further inspection to peruse the registries from 2016, coming across video footage of Tarrant leaving the airport in metropolis Istanbul.
Upon investigation, it was detected that Tarrant visited the capital Ankara along with the northern province of Tokat, the eastern province of Ağrı, southern province of Mersin, the Aegean province of İzmir and the Central Anatolian provinces of Konya and Sivas, apart from his initial location Istanbul.
During his visit, Tarrant visited the historic Tokat Castle, where Wallachian Prince Vlad III the Impaler, also publicly known as Dracula, is said to be held captive in early 15th century, officials have found out.
Tokat’s Provincial Security Directorate is carrying out works to determine Tarrant’s motivates for arriving to the city and the connections he made during his stay.
He stayed at a four-star hotel in room 403 for one day and checked out in Sep. 19, 2016.
Tarrant also travelled to Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Bulgaria after his visit to Turkey in 2016.
Also, Tarrant was in Bulgaria between Nov. 9-15, 2018, where he visited the battlegrounds where Ottoman Empire clashed with Christian armies.
After disclosing that the attacker also travelled to Balkan states, officials are also delving into the possible connection of Tarrant with extremist right-wing groups of these countries.
Turkish officials have reportedly suggested that a joint board with security units of Balkan states can be established to look further into the details of Tarrant’s travels.
“This terrorist entered Turkey twice. In the first one, he stayed for three days, and on his second visit, he stayed in Turkey as well as in its neighboring countries for 43 days to conduct ‘works,’” said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on March 18.
Senior New Zealand authorities expected to participate in OIC meeting
Meanwhile, the executive committee of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will hold a meeting with the attendance of foreign ministers on March 22 in metropolis Istanbul to discuss the causes, impacts and future strategy in the wake of New Zealand shooting.
New Zealand’s Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters is also expected to attend the meeting as an observer.