Mar 19, 2019 18:37 UTC
  • Turkey’s Erdogan urges New Zealand to restore death penalty over mass shooting

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has urged grief-stricken New Zealand to restore capital punishment for the mass murderer who shot dead scores of people in the Pacific Ocean country last week, vowing that Ankara would make the assailant “pay” for his “heinous” crime if Wellington did not.

On Friday, a 28-year-old Australian national, identified as Brenton Tarrant, killed 50 people and wounded 50 others at two mosques in Christchurch, a city located on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island. The mass shooting is regarded as the deadliest ever attack in New Zealand.

The attacker, who broadcast live footage on Facebook of the attack on one mosque in Christchurch, was detained shortly afterwards and on Saturday stood handcuffed before a New Zealand district court judge and was charged with murder. He was remanded without plea until his next appearance in the High Court on April 5.

“You heinously killed 50 of our siblings. You will pay for this. If New Zealand doesn’t make you, we know how to make you pay one way or another,” the Turkish president told an election rally of thousands in northern Turkey on Tuesday.

The attacker, a suspected white supremacist, wrote a lengthy manifesto, titled “The Great Replacement,” in which he described the Turkish leader as a “warlord” who is leading a country that is among “the oldest enemies of our people.”

He further issued threats against Turkey and Erdogan himself, calling for the drive of Turks from Turkey’s northwestern European region, where Istanbul is located, a Muslim-majority city and Turkey’s largest urban center.

Erdogan on Tuesday also said his country was wrong to have abolished the death penalty 15 years ago, adding that Wellington should make legal arrangements so that Tarrant could face capital punishment.

“If the New Zealand parliament doesn’t make this decision I will continue to argue this with them constantly. The necessary action needs to be taken,” he said.