Barry Soper: Slumbering Winston Peters fails to set the record straight

Author
Barry Soper,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 26 March 2019, 6:22a.m.
President Recep Erdogan delivers a speech at the Islamic Summit in Istanbul 22 March 2019, as Winston Peters appears to sleep. Photo / Supplied
President Recep Erdogan delivers a speech at the Islamic Summit in Istanbul 22 March 2019, as Winston Peters appears to sleep. Photo / Supplied

COMMENT

What to Winston Peters is deep contemplation to the rest of us looks awfully like being in a deep slumber.

There were better places to have a bit of shut-eye, sitting, as he was, very publicly at the top table as the obnoxious Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan waxed on to representatives from 57 Muslim nations.

Under normal circumstances you couldn't blame Peters for having a snooze after a last-minute, breakneck dash to Istanbul "to set the record straight". He was urged to do just that by Jacinda Ardern, who was appalled the President was using the Christchurch gunman's revolting video to whip up hysteria about attacks on Islam.

Erdogan warned Anzacs who will be on their annual pilgrimage to Gallipoli next month that they'd return in coffins like their grandfathers if they attacked Islam.

Peters says there was no need to raise Erdogan's behaviour when he met with him because his view of it was made quite clear before he left to a Turkish delegation, including their Foreign Minister, who came here after the attack. They invited him to the meeting in Turkey, so the trip was an impromptu one - fully endorsed by Ardern, who says she agreed with the judgment of Peters that we had to be there.

She said it was incredibly important for us to express our view of what happened on New Zealand soil - as if they wouldn't have already known given every broadcast network, television channel and newspaper, not to mention social media outlets, around the globe were full of it. In other words, you'd have to be in a deep sleep to miss it.

But it seems Peters' sleepy presence at the Istanbul meeting put it into some sort of perspective for them and in fairness when he was on his feet delivering his speech it would have gone some way to doing that.

President Recep Erdogan delivers a speech at the Islamic Summit in Istanbul 22 March 2019, as Winston Peters appears to sleep. Photo / Supplied
President Recep Erdogan delivers a speech at the Islamic Summit in Istanbul 22 March 2019, as Winston Peters appears to sleep. Photo / Supplied

When he got alongside the President after the speech though he didn't confront what Erdogan had been saying, as Ardern insisted he would, because he said they weren't showing the video any more.

Well within hours the Turk was at it again at a campaign rally again but Peters says it was a much shorter version of the video he'd been showing at earlier rallies and besides, his rhetoric had changed, he was now much more benign about New Zealand.

Now that's something to contemplate, which he'll no doubt be doing as he wings his way to Malaysia today.

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