A Turkish man wounded in the Christchurch mosque shootings seven weeks ago has died in Christchurch Hospital, raising the death toll to 51.
The 46-year-old had been in intensive care since being shot at the Al Noor mosque in March.
Brenton Tarrant, 28-year-old Australian, has been charged with 50 counts of murder and 39 counts of attempted murder for New Zealand’s worst-ever mass shooting.
On Friday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the news of the Turkish man’s death would be felt across both countries.
“This man has been in intensive care since the attack,” said Ardern in a statement. “We have all been hoping for the best, however he has now succumbed to the injuries sustained in the shooting at the Al Noor mosque.”
Relations between Turkey and New Zealand have been strained since the March 15 attack after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan showed clips from the gunman’s live-streamed footage at his election campaign rallies to denounce hatred against Islam.
New Zealand authorities have banned the video, and anybody caught sharing it in New Zealand can face up to 14 years in prison.
New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Winston Peters travelled to Turkey a week after the attacks to try to smooth relations.
On Thursday, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Twitter: “Unfortunately, we have lost our citizen … who was seriously wounded in the treacherous terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand.”
The state-run Anadolu Agency said the father of two was wounded in the back and the leg and died after undergoing surgery. He was one of three Turkish citizens wounded in the attack.
Nine people shot in the attack remain in hospital, all in a stable condition.
In April, New Zealand’s parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of legislation to ban semi-automatic and military-style weapons.
New Zealand’s major media organisations also pledged not to promote white supremacist ideology while covering Tarrant’s trial, saying they were aware that the suspect might try to use the trial as a platform to promote white supremacist or “terrorist” views.
(Source: Al Jazeera)