Take probe seriously, says Erdoğan to New Zealand
“We expect the New Zealand government to take this issue seriously. They should not take it lightly like Western countries do. I have shared this issue with New Zealand’s Governor-General Patsy Reddy. I have told her that we, as Turkey, which has suffered a lot from terrorist acts and have many fallen martyrs, could hold joint works with them,” Erdoğan said on March 18, speaking at the opening ceremony of the Museum of Troy in the northwestern province of Çanakkale.
Erdoğan said that the shooter had entered Turkey twice according to Turkish intelligence. “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,’” Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan said Turkey will not allow anyone to “turn Istanbul into Constantinople,” referring to the shooter’s manifesto.
“Your grandparents came, some of them returned in coffins. If you come as well like your grandfathers, be sure that you will be gone like your grandfathers. It’s not easy like writing on a weapon,” he said.
He recalled the Ottoman Empire’s World War One victory over Allied fleets that were attempting to break through the Strait of Dardanelles.
Turkey will “write history” again if anyone stands against “Turks, Muslims and all the oppressed,” he stated.
“If Turkey faces a test similar to those that happened in Gallipoli in the First World War, the country is capable of doing the same again,” he said.
Some circles are testing Turkey’s “patience and determination” despite one century passing since the First World War, Erdoğan stated and cited the “efforts to establish a terror corridor” across its southern border with Syria, referring to the YPG in the war-torn country.
“They are continuing to harass our border with Syria and are trying to establish a terrorist corridor here,” he said.
Indirectly referring to attempts for national gas drillings off Cyprus’ coast, Erdoğan said: “They are trying to seize our rights in the Eastern Mediterranean and in Cyprus.”
“They test by trying to make us unable to be in the Aegean Sea,” he said, again indirectly pointing at what he called harassment by Greek authorities in the Aegean over continental territory dispute between the two countries.
“They test us by attempting coups with dark alliances,” he said, referring to a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
“They are testing even by giving a message in New Zealand from 16,000 kilometers far away,” he said in reference to a manifesto of an Australian gunman, Brenton Tarrant, who killed at least 50 Muslims in twin terror attacks in New Zealand.
In the manifesto posted online, the attacker mentions Hagia Sophia.
The Hagia Sophia is currently a landmark mosque-turned-museum in Istanbul, previously a Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal cathedral until 1453 when the Ottoman Empire conquered Istanbul.
Tarrant’s manifesto has several anti-migrant comments, Islamophobic expressions and threats against Turkey. “We are coming for Constantinople and we will destroy every mosque and every minaret in the city. The Hagia Sophia will be liberated from the minarets, and Constantinople will be rightfully Christian owned once more,” his manifesto said.