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Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

The New Zealand government will confront Turkey over comments the Turkish president made on the Christchurch attacks — which Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday condemned as "reckless" and "highly offensive."

What he's saying: “Your grandparents came, some of them returned in coffins," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, referring to a World War I campaign in Turkey in which thousands of Australians and New Zealanders died. "If New Zealand fails to hold the attacker accountable, one way or another we will hold him to account."

The details: Morrison said at a press conference Wednesday he had summoned Turkey's ambassador to Australia and told him "all options are now on the table" after Erdogan made the remarks at a rally. Morrison warned Australians traveling to Turkey for annual commemorations for the Battle of Gallipoli next month to exercise caution.

Between the lines: Erdogan made the comments at a local election campaign. He has also been playing videos at rallies of the New Zealand mosque attacks, which were live-streamed on Facebook, to fuel nationalist and religious sentiment before local elections on March 31, according to SBS.

The big picture: New Zealand leader Jacinda Ardern said her deputy prime minister would confront Turkish officials about Erdogan's remarks during an upcoming visit to Turkey. “He is going there to set the record straight, face-to-face,” she said, adding she didn't the two countries' relationship would be damaged.

  • NZ deputy leader Winston Peters called the comment "totally unfair." "[It] imperils the future and safety of the New Zealand people and our people abroad," he said.
  • Away from the campaign trail, Erdogan, praised Ardern in an opinion piece for The Washington Post Tuesday for her "courage, leadership and sincerity."

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”

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