Turkey condemns deadly Nice attack, says against terrorism

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey said that it strongly condemned Thursday’s deadly knife attack in the French city of Nice.

A knife-wielding attacker shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest) beheaded a woman and killed two other people at a church in Nice, while a gunman was shot dead by police in a separate incident.

In a statement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said Turkey stood in solidarity with the French people against violence and terrorism.

Turkish Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said that Islam cannot be used in the name of terrorism and condemned the attack.

“We call on the French leadership to avoid further inflammatory rhetoric against Muslims and focus, instead, on finding the perpetrators of this and other acts of violence,” Altun wrote on Twitter.

Altun also said Turkey would continue to confront any politician who insults its religion and values and renewed Turkey’s call for cooperation against terrorism and extremism.

Thursday’s attacks, on the birthday of the Prophet Mohammad, came at a time of growing Muslim anger at France’s defence of the right to publish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad and protesters have denounced France in street rallies in several Muslim-majority countries.

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Writing by Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing by Jon Boyle and Nick Macfie