ANKARA: Even in face of Islamophobic attacks, Muslims will never come to heel, said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday following twin mosque attacks in New Zealand which killed at least 49.
“As Muslims, we will never come to heel and never come down to the level of these cowards,” Erdogan told a campaign rally in the southeastern Gaziantep province.
Erdogan’s remarks came after attacks targeting worshippers at two New Zealand mosques in Christchurch that also left some 48 wounded — including three Turkish citizens.
“This killer [behind the attacks] releases a statement targeting our country, our nation, myself, and all Muslims,” he added, apparently referring to an online manifesto posted by one of the suspects in the massacre.
Erdogan added that Turkey will continue to take same stance whenever innocents die, without any discrimination.
“I strongly condemn the terror attack against the Al Noor Mosque in New Zealand and Muslim worshippers,” Erdogan said on Twitter.
Erdogan wished God’s mercy upon the victims of the shooting and a speedy recovery to the wounded.
“On behalf of my country, I offer my condolences to the Islamic world and the people of New Zealand, who have been targeted by this deplorable act — the latest example of rising racism and Islamophobia,” he said.
Speaking at a ceremony in Istanbul, Erdogan said:
“It is obvious that the New Zealand shootings were a result of long planning and motivation; it cannot be brushed off as impulsive behavior.”
Calling on the world, particularly western countries, to take urgent measures against Islamophobia, Erdogan added:
“This homicidal tendency, also attacking my country and I, is spreading across the West like cancer.” (AA)