A recent terrorist attack in Turkey’s capital, Istanbul, has sent shockwaves around the world. Reina nightclub, a notorious tourist location in Istanbul was targeted by a single gunman on New Year’s Eve, who killed over 40 party-goers and injured 70.
Disguising himself in a Santa Claus costume along the way, it is believed the gunman open fired and shot dead a police officer upon entry to the club.
It is estimated that 600 people were in the club at the time the gunman entered. Local media showed that the streets around the harbour side club were inundated with police and ambulance vehicles responding to the situation
The Turkish Interior Minister, Suleyman Soylu, told Turkish reporters that the gunman was still on the run, and it is highly likely that he has strong links to the Islamic State (ISIL). As highlighted by President Erdogan, these terrorist attacks are closely related to other activities in the region, namely the Syrian conflict and Turkey’s refugee intake. It has to be encouraging for the wider Middle Eastern community to see Turkey’s determination to achieve a solid sense of security and peace in the region.
He was adamant in his claim, where he stated that he would “fight to the end against their (ISIL’s) economic, political and social attacks.” Maintaining democratic principles in Turkey is crucial to how the country should respond, which makes his words reassuring amongst their national community. If anything, Turkey can learn from France’s response to terrorist attacks in Paris, Lyon, and Grenoble, in order to instill solidarity among the citizens.
Whilst this is Turkey’s 13th terrorist attack in the last 12 months, an attack on New Year’s Eve comes as a surprise due to extensive security throughout Istanbul and the other major cities. The BBC reported that 17,000 police officers were deployed for the festivities on NYE, dressing up as Santa Claus and street vendors.
Head of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, was also determined to counter ISIL’s continued advances on Turkey, stating that they would “eliminate terrorist organizations with the strength of our solidarity, our rooted democracy, and secularism.”
The White House expressed deep sympathies for the Turkey and the families and friends affected. US Correspondent, Eric Shultz, said that the President “expressed condolences for the innocent lives lost, direct(ing) his team to offer appropriate assistance to the Turkish authorities.”