ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Over the weekend, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan showed footage of a brutal mass killing on Friday of 50 Muslims in two New Zealand mosques during a political campaign rally ahead of nationwide local elections later this month.
“Let’s watch this. It is important,” Erdogan told his supporters as snippets of the live-streamed video by the cold-blooded shooter identified as the Australian national Brenton Harrison Tarrant played on during the rally televised by almost all major Turkish news TV channels.
Social media companies have come under fire for not being more effective in taking down the video of the brutal massacre of Muslims while worshipping in Christchurch.
Turkish media, too, by law, are barred from airing the violent footage, but the Turkish president’s use of the footage in front of thousands of voters in the city of Tekirdag on Saturday carried it to millions of households—and in a much-politicized manner.
Immediately after the massacre video, on the giant outdoor screen, pictures of the opposition People’s Republican Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu appeared as Erdogan called him ”impudent, unhinged, and a terrorist supporter.”
Kilicdaroglu had earlier condemned the White supremacist attack as “a big crime against humanity” and also warned against what he called “terrorism stemming from the Muslim world, such as the Islamic State and al-Qaida.”
“How dare you say ‘terrorism stemming from the Muslim world?’ And look at him, he is doing politics here. He has to pay the price on March 31,” Erdogan said of his rival, referring to the election day in which mayors in hundreds of towns and cities will be elected across the country.
“New Zealand will pay a price tomorrow,” Erdogan also said, if New Zealand authorities did not take necessary steps in dealing with the crime.
On Sunday, Erdogan showed the video again, this time in the Mediterranean city of Antalya.
“He is doing this for the sake of a few votes. A shameful situation,” Ali Aktas, the mayoral candidate of the opposition Islamist Felicity Party for Antalya, wrote on Twitter.
CHP’s Istanbul lawmaker Gursel Tekin called Erdogan “irresponsible.”
“What kind of conscience, loss of morality is this? How does he make the nation watch the brutal killing of people?” Tekin tweeted.
“[Erdogan] is trying to turn even this massacre in his favor for the sake of a vote. It is a shame, it is a sin, it is a pity,” pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-chair Pervin Buldan said in a rally in the Kurdish Agri province.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany