Just like the closing balance in an accounts ledger is carried forward to become the opening balance of the new book of accounts, the same seems to have happened in Turkey in terms of violence being carried forward from 2016.
Violence was brought forward into the New Year even before Turkey could witness the first daylight of 2017 when an Ak-47 armed gunman stormed a Turkish nightclub, after killing a policeman stationed outside, and randomly opened fire on revellers just an hour into the New Year.
The killer who was wearing a woollen hat was captured on CCTV footage randomly opening fire before entering the nightclub to see his sinister mission through.
Among the 39 dead 24 of the revellers are believed to have been of foreign origin, and so far 70 people have been reported injured in the senseless attack. The death toll is likely to rise as many of the injured are in serious condition and may not make it.
The Reina nightclub carnage took place in the Ortakoy neighbourhood, within the Beşiktaş district of Istanbul, Turkey, in the wee hours of 2017 in spite of increased security measures in the city where 17,000 police officers are said to have been deployed.
Turkish citizens have been the victims of several terrorist attacks in 2016, including the attack at the high-security Ataturk airport on June 28, 2016, which resulted in 48 innocent deaths followed by the December 10, 2016, bombing at the Vodafone arena killing 44 people.
ISIS has laid claim on the nightclub attack by a lone gunman, who is still at large, saying it was revenge for Turkish military involvement in Syria.
A statement issued by the self-proclaimed Islamic State said: “The apostate Turkish government should know that the blood of Muslims shed with airplanes and artillery fire will, with God’s permission, ignite a fire in their own land.”
The owners of the Reina nightclub revealed that security at the club had been heightened over the last ten days leading to the New Year’s Eve festivities after a tip-off from American Intelligence officials about an impending security threat.
Although the available police force stormed into the nightclub soon after the attack, the perpetrator of this heinous crime made good his escape and a manhunt for him is underway.
Both, national and international reactions to the dastardly attack have been that of condemnation and contempt.
The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, condemned the attack in a statement and pledged to “fight to the end” against terror. He offered his condolences to the families of all those who lost their lives in the attack including those from other countries.
Governor Sahin in his post-attack reaction did not mince words when he described it as a “violent and cruel act of terror.”
International reactions were no less severe in the condemnation of the merciless and senseless massacre of innocent civilians who were simply having fun in the New Year’s Eve celebrations.
The governments of the United States, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Italy, Greece, Saudi Arabia, India, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, Germany, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Sweden and Norway were magnanimous in their condolences, condemnation of the terrible act, and in their offers of support.
At a news conference held in Ankara, the Turkish government’s spokesman Numan Kutumulus conveyed that the attack was a backlash of the Turkish military involvement in Syria.
“This attack is a message to Turkey against its decisive operations across the border,” Kurtulmus said, going on to say that the Turkish action in Syria would continue until all threats to Turkey were eliminated.