Prime Minister Scott Morrison slams Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ‘coffins’ threat

Scott Morrison says he’s ‘deeply offended’ by Turkish President Recep Erdogan’s Gallipoli comments after he warned anti-Muslim Australians would be sent home ‘in coffins like their grandfathers’

  •  Prime Minister Scott Morrison has slammed the Turkish President’s threat
  •  Recep Tayyip Erdogan said anti-Muslim visitors would be sent back in coffins
  •  He was making a crude reference to the sacred 1915 Anzac Gallipoli campaign  

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the Turkish President’s warning that anti-Muslim Australian visitors will return home in coffins like their grandfathers was ‘deeply offensive’.

 Recep Tayyip Erdogan (pictured) referenced the doomed Gallipoli campaign during World War I by saying anti-Muslim visitors would be ‘returned in coffins’

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has inflamed previously-warm diplomatic ties by referencing the sacred Gallipoli campaign of 1915, following last week’s Christchurch mosque massacre.

‘I find the comments deeply offensive but also unhelpful. I think it’s our job here not to escalate this. It’s our job to take the temperature down,’ Mr Morrison told Sydney’s 2GB radio on Wednesday.  

The Prime Minister confirmed he would summon the Turkish Ambassador to Australia today over the ‘very offensive comments’. 

On Monday Erodogan, a 65-year-old Islamist leader, referenced the doomed 1915 Gallipoli campaign of World War I during a public speech. 

‘Your grandparents came, some of them returned in coffins,’ he said in remarks reported by the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News.

‘If you come as well like your grandfathers, be sure that you will be gone like your grandfathers.’

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has described the Turkish President's comments as 'deeply offensive'

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has described the Turkish President’s comments as ‘deeply offensive’

After World War I, Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his secular successors had fostered close diplomatic ties with Australia.

Erodogan, however, who became President in 2014 after serving as prime minister has broken decades of secular consensus in Turkey by ruling as an autocratic Islamist leader. 

His inflammatory comments, following the Christchurch massacre in New Zealand which killed 50 people, could be regarded as a threat to the thousands of Australians who visit Turkey in April every year for the dawn service at Anzac Cove.

The Gallipoli reference is also particularly touchy, given that is the basis of the Anzac Day national public holiday in Australia and New Zealand.