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Australian PM Condemns Erdogan Comments After Mosque Massacres

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attends a ceremony marking the 104th anniversary of Battle of Canakkale, also known as the Gallipoli Campaign, in Canakkale, Turkey March 18, 2019

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has condemned comments made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan following mosque massacres in New Zealand and warned that his country would consider “all options” in reviewing relations.

"Remarks have been made by the Turkish President Erdogan that I consider highly offensive to Australians and highly reckless in this very sensitive environment," Morrison said on March 20.

Erdogan earlier warned that anti-Muslim Australians would be "sent back in coffins" like their grandfathers at Gallipoli, scene of a bloody World War I battle.

More than 8,000 Australian and New Zealand soldiers died fighting against Turkish forces near the seaside town, and the battle is considered a major event in both countries’ histories.

Citizens of both countries annually travel in April to Gallipoli to mark the anniversary of the battle.

Morrison said Erdogan insulted the memory of Australian and New Zealand soldiers and said the remarks were "highly offensive to Australians, and highly reckless in this very sensitive environment."

"I am expecting, and I have asked, for these comments to be clarified, to be withdrawn," said Morrison.

"I've asked for these comments, particularly their reporting of the misrepresented position of Australia on Turkish television, the state-sponsored broadcaster, to be taken down and I expect that to occur."

A 28-year-old Australian man, believed to be a white supremacist, has been charged with murder in the March 15 mass shootings at two mosques in New Zealand that killed 50 people. The suspect wrote a manifesto that included anti-Muslim rants.

Based on reporting by AFP and dpa