Australia says tensions with Turkey ease after WWI remarks

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says tensions between his country and Turkey have eased after conciliatory comments from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's office

SYDNEY -- Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says tensions between his country and Turkey have eased after conciliatory comments from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's office on Wednesday.

A diplomatic row flared in the wake of Friday's gun massacre at two mosques in New Zealand, when Erdogan warned Australians and New Zealanders going to Turkey with anti-Muslim views would return home in coffins, like their ancestors who fought at Gallipoli in World War I.

Morrison slammed the comments as "highly offensive," but on Wednesday a spokesman for Erdogan said the president's words were "taken out of context," saying he'd framed them "in a historical context" since he was speaking near commemorative sites near the Gallipoli.

Morrison told reporters Thursday progress had been made over the row after a "moderation of the president's views."