Erdoğan uses Christchurch video in campaign

President Erdoğan has repeatedly shown video footage of the Christchurch attack in New Zealand at rallies in the run-up to local elections in Turkey. He explained that he was using the video to show how hatred against Muslims is growing, and also made historical references to the First World War when Australian and New Zealand troops fought against the Ottoman Empire. His use of the footage has drawn harsh criticism in the media.

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The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

President making a weapon of his country

The Turkish president is using the attack for his own selfish purposes, The Daily Telegraph comments:

“New Zealand is the last place to look for new crusaders. It is the poster-child of post-modern embrace of diversity. By contrast, Erdogan risks trapping Turkey forever in a state of antagonism with the wider world over historic grievances which can never be reversed because they happened so long ago. Turkey has too rich a heritage, valuable to the whole world, to let itself become reduced to a weapon of an embittered and self-isolating president. But, sadly, a nationalism manipulated to put emotional resentments ahead of rational self-interest can still come up trumps in Turkish politics.”

Artı Gerçek (TR) /

The very opposite of civilised

Erdoğan is resorting to the tackiest of campaign tactics, news website Artı Gerçek writes indignantly:

“New Zealand has suffered an enormous atrocity and the reaction of its leadership has been so civilised that one could feel envious here in Turkey. The killer filmed his massacre and the ghastly video was made public, but all experts, psychologists and psychiatrists advise against watching it. In Turkey, by contrast, the president and party leader showed this despicable footage at several campaign rallies where even children could see it.”

Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

New enemies wanted

Whenever Erdoğan runs out of ideas for his election campaigns he starts focusing on Turkey's purported enemies, Gazeta Wyborcza groans:

“Erdoğan has taken over the public prosecution, the courts and the media, but he doesn't have many new promises for the voters. His entire campaign is aimed at mobilising voters against a massive offensive by Turkey's enemies. This is not a new phenomenon: Erdoğan has intensified the battle against his enemies since the failed coup in July 2016. Before that he had already accused the Fetö organisation [led by the Islamic cleric living in the US Fethullah Gülen] of being responsible for the coup. ... Since Turkey was unable to prove that Gülen was guilty, the Americans refused to extradite him and relations between Ankara and Washington deteriorated.”