Turkish police arrested several people of Uighur ethnicity over the New Year’s Day attack that killed 39 people in Istanbul Reina nightclub, Joinfo.com reports with reference to Turkey media.
According to the Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak, it can not be excluded that the gunman escaped abroad. Kaynak also said that everything indicates that the attack was carried out by one person. “But it is possible that he had help,” the official said.
The Uighurs are a Turkic people from China’s Xinjiang autonomous region. They speak Uighur, a language related to Turkish. The relations between the Uighurs and the Turkish government are good. Turkey supports the Uighurs for years in their struggle to break away from China and Turkish President Erdogan named a park in Istanbul in 1995 to the Uighur nationalist Yusuf Alptekin. Erdogan was then mayor of Istanbul.
Yesterday, the Turkish authorities indicated that the identity of the perpetrator is known. But Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu gave no further details.
Turkish media had earlier found a selfie video with the alleged offender seen running on Taksim Square in Istanbul. He managed to escape from the chaos he had caused. According to the Turkish news agency Anadolu, police arrested about twenty other people in connection with the investigation.
However, ISIS group said in a statement the attack on Reina night club in central Istanbul was carried out by “a heroic soldier.”