Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Thursday, July 20, 2017. (AAP Image/Joe Castro)
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the Turkish president's warning that anti-Muslim Australians will return home in coffins like their grandfathers if they visit his country is deeply offensive.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan was referencing the WWI battle at Gallipoli, in which thousands of Australian and New Zealand soldiers died fighting the Turks, as he responded to the Christchurch mosque massacres.
"I find the comments obviously offensive, deeply offensive, but also I think very unhelpful," Mr Morrison told Sydney radio 2GB on Wednesday.
A diplomatic rift has erupted after Mr Edogan's incendiary remarks, with Mr Morrison set to haul in the Turkish ambassador on Wednesday to make his views clear.
"Your grandparents came, some of them returned in coffins," President Erdogan said at an election rally in northern Turkey.
"If you come as well like your grandfathers, be sure that you will be gone like your grandfathers."
Mr Morrison said the comments conflicted with those of Turkey's first president, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who in 1934 said soldiers who died at Gallipoli were "in the soil of a friendly country" at peace.
"I find President Erdogan's comments very at odds with what Ataturk said about our sons could lie safely on their shores and rest in peace there," the prime minister said.
"I find it a violation of that."
Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, was charged with murder on Saturday after a lone gunman opened fire at two Christchurch mosques during Friday prayers, killing 50 people.
Despite Turkey's explosive response, Mr Morrison said it was the job of tolerant societies like Australia not to escalate the war of words.
"It's our job to take the temperature down," he said.
Turkey is a member of G20, the global forum which Australia is seeking agreement to act on social media companies broadcasting terror attacks like the Christchurch shootings.
"I hope he'll join with me in addressing the issues around social media when it comes to terrorist attacks," Mr Morrison said of his Turkish counterpart.
President Erdogan also called on New Zealand to restore the death penalty for the gunman, warning Turkey would make the attacker pay if they did not.
© AAP 2019