New Year, New Problems

Relatives gather at the funeral of one of the victims, Ayhan Arik, to mourn their loss.

Photo courtesy of: Sedat Suna

Relatives gather at the funeral of one of the victims, Ayhan Arik, to mourn their loss.

Amanda Chung, Photojournalist

In recent years, Turkey has suffered many waves of deadly bomb and gun attacks. Early on Sunday, January 1, 2017, a nightclub in Istanbul, Turkey containing approximately 600 people was attacked by a gunman that killed at least 39 people and injured 69 others. In the past month alone, this shooting has been the fourth major attack in Turkey (BBC).


The Reina nightclub, located on the shores of Istanbul’s Bosphorus waterway, is a popular tourist attraction. Almost two-thirds of the victims were actually foreigners that were from other countries. Many were from the Middle East, including Jordan, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. However, India and Belgium also identified a few people from the casualties as their own citizens (USA Today).


Mehmet Kocarslan, the owner of Reina nightclub, increased his security as a result of the attack. “Despite all these precautions by police forces, unfortunately this painful event took place,” he said. “We are at the point where all words end.”


The Foreign Minister of Turkey, Mevlut Çavusoglu, announced that Turkish authorities have identified the gunman. However, they did not provide his name nor his nationality. Authorities have also caught 20 alleged members of ISIS who are supposedly connected to the shooting. Counterterrorism officers arrested the suspects at four addresses in the Bornova and Buca districts of the Aegean province of Izmir. They are suspected to have lived with the attacker in the central Anatolian city of Konya. It was also reported that military hardware was discovered during the raids. Night-vision equipment, a sniper scope, an ammunition belt and other items were found (CNN).


Sinem Uyanik, a survivor of the attack, shared what she had witnessed inside the club to the Hurriyet newspaper. “We were having fun. All of a sudden people started to run. My husband said don’t be afraid, and he jumped on me. People ran over me. My husband was hit in three places.”


Ashley Bui-Tran (10) expresses her condolences for the families who have lost people in the shooting. “I hope they catch the gunman who did this and bring him to justice,” she said. “The violence in our world needs to stop.”


Overall, this incident is one tragedy among many others; the shooting at Fort Lauderdale airport was another tragedy where a lot of people died too. Nowadays, more and more violent crimes are being committed, and it could happen anywhere, at any given moment. With that in mind, be safe YL.