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Erdoğan calls for unity
after the Istanbul massacre

In his first public speech after the massacre in the New Year's Reina nightclub in Istanbul, Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Wednesday that “the country, challenged by terrorism, will react as one nation.” “The main purpose of the attacks,” he added, “is to destroy our balance, to set us against each other, but we will never give in to this [strategy], and we will react.”

In terms of the investigation, the identity of the gunman responsible for the massacre seems to have been ascertained. This was confirmed by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. Twenty-eight year old Kyrgyz Iakhe Mashrapov, originally suspected to be the killer, has therefore been exonerated. The minister did not provide the name of the aggressor, nor other details about the identified person, who is still on the run and wanted by police. The Anadolu Agency said that so far, more than 40 people have been detained in the investigations into the armed assault on the Reina nightclub which claimed 39 lives and wounded more than sixty others.

The so-called Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attack. According to investigators, the bomber - who according to the Turkish newspaper "Yeni Safak" goes by the code name Abu Muslim Horasani - arrived in Istanbul with his wife two weeks before the attack. The night of the assault, the man took eight taxi rides before arriving at the Reina nightclub with two backpacks: a larger one, in which he hid the automatic weapon used in the attack, and a smaller one. He then left one of the backpacks in the last taxi used to get there. After having perpetrated the carnage, the terrorist headed to the kitchens, where he changed his coat in order to mix among the people running from the building. The Ankara parliament has meanwhile decided to extend for another 3 months a state of emergency, in force after the failed coup of 15 July.

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June 26, 2017

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