Turkey sends delegation to New Zealand after terror attack
ANKARA- Anadolu Agency
Turkey sends a high-level delegation to New Zealand in the aftermath of the mosque attacks which left at least 49 people dead, the Turkish president said.
"I am sending our vice president, foreign minister, and a delegation to New Zealand,” said Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on March 15 in a phone call to Dame Patsy Reddy, New Zealand's governor-general, as shown in video posted online by Erdoğan's communications director.
"The manifesto that the terrorist released clearly shows that this was no individual act," added Erdoğan, stressing the importance of exposing the groups behind the attacks, and offering Turkey's help.
On their trip to New Zealand, Vice-President Fuat Oktay and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu will convey Turkey's condolences over the attacks, the Foreign Ministry later announced.
The delegation will stress Turkey's resolve against Islamophobia and xenophobia and its solidarity with New Zealand in the face of these "heinous" terror attacks, said a ministry statement.
Turkey's vice president on March 16 urged the international community to stand up against Islamophobia, xenophobia, radicalism, and racism.
Speaking at an Istanbul airport before leaving for New Zealand, Fuat Oktay said: “This terrorist act, unfortunately, has shown us once again that there are no limits of hostility to Islam.”
“We invite the whole world to stand up against Islamophobia, xenophobia, radicalism, and racism,” Oktay said.
“Taking effective measures against Islamophobia-related problems has become crucial beyond necessity in today's world,” he added.
Turkey, as a country, “which has suffered great casualties from terrorism and has opposed all forms of terrorism” will stand by New Zealand in its fight against terrorism, the VP said.
In the meantime, five major parties in Turkey's parliament have issued a joint declaration condemning Friday's mosque attacks in New Zealand that left at least 49 people dead.
The deadly attacks were the "result of racism based on Islamophobic and xenophobic hate speech," said the declaration signed by the deputy group chairs of the parties.
The Western world should "avoid encouraging the actions of Islamophobic tendencies," it added.
"The Western governments and media should wholeheartedly and categorically steer clear of rhetoric that provoke Islamophobic emotions and actions," warned the declaration.
The declaration was issued by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and Good (İYİ) Party.
Turkey's defense minister also has denounced terrorist attack in New Zealand.
“On behalf of the members of the Turkish Defense Ministry and Turkish Armed Forces, I strongly condemn this racist terrorism, which was perversely and viciously livestreamed,” Hulusi Akar said in a statement.
“This massacre once again exposed Islamophobic, fascistic terror to the eyes of the whole world,” Akar said, and added: “This event clearly shows the troubling point anti-Islamism and Muslim hostility [have reached] in the world.”
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu also decried the attacks, and added: “The sin of this incident belongs to Western civilization, which changes its tune according to the nationality and religion of the people killed.”
Turkish football clubs and fans have paid tribute to the victims of New Zealand's mosque attacks.
Ahead of the match between Fenerbahçe and Sivasspor played in Istanbul's Kadıköy district on March 15, footballers observed a moment of silence for all the victims.