The New Year has kicked off in the most horrific way for Turkey, with a terror attack in which 39 people died and 69 were injured in a nightclub assault.
The Turkish president has described the attack as “brutal and merciless,” adding that the assault in Istanbul was an “attempt to destabilise the country”. A massive manhunt is under way for a gunman dressed in a Santa Claus costume who burst into the renowned Reina nightclub, before raining bullets on terrified partygoers.
Some revellers even dived into the Bosphorus River in a bid to save themselves. It is understood that along with those killed, dozens have been injured. Fifteen of those killed or injured are understood to be foreign nationals, who were enjoying New Year’s Eve in Istanbul before the gunman struck.
On the run
Special forces rushed to the scene, but the gunman is still at large. At first, reports were suggesting that there were two gunmen. But now it is believed that it could have been just one. Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan says that the nation will fight attack by terror groups as well as those behind them.
He said that terrorists were trying to create chaos, demoralise the people of Turkey and destabilize the country by targeting innocent civilians. However, he said the attack would only bring the nation closer together. Istanbul governor Vasip Sahin has revealed that a police officer was among those who was shot. Meanwhile, the Turkish interior minister Suleyman Soylu has confirmed that the gunman is still on the run.
Politicians from across the world have sent their condolences and messages of support to Turkey. In Germany, where the Berlin Christmas market massacre killed 12 and injured dozens more, Chancellor Angela Merkel described the attack as “devious and inhumane,” adding that her thoughts were with everyone who was affected.