Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin confirmed that at least 39 people had been killed in a nightclub Saturday by a “terrorist with a long-range weapon.” The attack also injured at least 40 other New Years’ Eve revelers. Sahin said that the attacker – still on the loose as of Sunday morning – had killed a police officer and one other civilian before heading into the club.
White House spokesman Eric Schultz released a statement saying that President Obama had been brought up to date on the details of the attack.
“The President expressed condolences for the innocent lives lost, directed his team to offer appropriate assistance to the Turkish authorities, as necessary, and keep him updated as warranted,” Schultz said.
The White House National Security Council also condemned what they termed a “horrific terrorist attack” in a statement.
“That such an atrocity could be perpetrated upon innocent revelers, many of whom were celebrating New Year’s Eve, underscores the savagery of the attackers,” said NSC spokesman Ned Price. “We offer our thoughts and prayers to the families and loved ones of those killed, and a speedy recovery to the wounded. We reaffirm the support of the United States for Turkey, our NATO ally, in our shared determination to confront and defeat all forms of terrorism.”
Neither ISIS nor any other Islamists have yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but Turkey has been in their sights for some time. This was the fourth terrorist attack in the country in under a month’s time, and the Islamic State has issued direct calls for their followers to kill civilians in Turkey.
In a statement, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the country would stand strong in the face of Islamist intimidation.
“They are working to destroy our country’s morale and create chaos by deliberately targeting our nation’s peace and targeting civilians with these heinous attacks,” he said. “We will retain our coolheadedness as a nation, standing more closely together, and we will never give ground to such dirty games.”
He said he was committed to the war on ISIS, no matter the cost.
“Turkey is determined to continue to fight to the end against terror and to do whatever is necessary to ensure the security of its citizens and secure peace in the region,” he said.
The people who died at Reina nightclub are paying the price for the hesitant, timid actions of the Obama administration. When Donald Trump takes office, we may finally understand just how terribly Obama has botched this mission. God knows, he can’t do any worse.