Turkish President Erdogan called U.S. President Barack Obama to express Turkey’s support in the aftermath of Sunday’s massacre in the U.S. city of Orlando that left dozens of people dead, sources at the Turkish presidency said Wednesday.
Erdogan said the Orlando shooting “once again” revealed the need for the international community to be together in the struggle against terrorism.
The Turkish president also said Islam must not be associated with terrorism, adding that terrorism was “one of the greatest crimes against humanity.”
The two leaders agreed to maintain cooperation and consultation on any topic related to the Middle East, particularly Syria.
Meanwhile, during his address to foreign ambassadors and Foreign Economic Relations Board members at the Presidential Palace in Ankara late Wednesday, Erdogan said: “Terrorism is a common problem of humanity.”
He added that Turkey had been “always open” to cooperation against terrorism.
“Let’s take up a position against terrorists regardless of their identity, discourse, roots and faith,” he said.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim also called U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, and condemned Orlando shooting, and said Turkey shared their grief.
U.S. citizen Omar Mateen killed 49 victims and wounded 53 others at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
The massacre is considered by many to be the deadliest shooting in American history.
Hours before the alleged Orlando shooter carried out a massacre at a gay nightclub, he posted on social media that his actions were in retaliation for U.S. and Russian airstrikes against Daesh, authorities said Wednesday.
“You kill innocent women and children by doing us airstrikes..now taste the Islamic state vengeance [sic],” Omar Mateen posted on Facebook, according ABC News, which cited officials in the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division. “In the next few days you will see attacks from the Islamic State [ISIS] in the usa.”
Law enforcement officials became aware of the posting Tuesday, and have found four Facebook accounts linked to Mateen.
Mateen reportedly telephoned a local television station during the attack to say he was carrying out the massacre on behalf of Daesh.
“I will never forget the words he said to me,” Orlando News 13 producer Matthew Gentili said.
Gentili said the person on the other end of the call said, “I did it for ISIS. I did it for the Islamic State.”
Gentili said he asked where the caller was, but the caller said it was “none of my (expletive) business.”
One survivor, Patience Carter, who was visiting Orlando, said Mateen spared her life because she is black.