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Christchurch shootings: New Zealand to 'confront' Erdogan over remarks

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Christchurch shootings: New Zealand to 'confront' Erdogan over remarks
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REUTERS/Edgar Su
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New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Wednesday that Foreign Minister Winston Peters would travel to Turkey to "confront" comments made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the Christchurch mosque shootings.

In the wake of the twin attacks, which saw 50 killed and dozens injured, Erdogan said Turkey would make the suspected attacker pay if New Zealand did not.

Some saw the move as an attempt to drum up support for his Islamist-rooted AK Party in March 31 local elections.

Ardern added: "I do want to acknowledge we had a delegation from the Turkish government arrive very soon after (the attacks) to bring a message of solidarity to New Zealand and to those who have been affected by this terrorist attack."

She made the comments at a news conference held after meeting with first responder paramedics where she thanked them for their actions in reaction to the shootings.

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, was charged with murder on Saturday after a lone gunman opened fire at the two mosques during Friday prayers.

The bodies of 30 victims had been approved for release to be reunited with their families, Ardern said.

Burials for the victims began on Wednesday morning amid aggravation over the delay, as under Islam bodies are usually buried within 24 hours.

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