‘We need a new humanity’: Istanbul attack sparks anger & grief on social media
With 39 people dead and at least 40 injured, the attack on an Istanbul nightclub cast a dark shadow over New Year’s Eve celebrations globally, sparking an emotional outpouring online amongst the celebrations.
“We don't need a new year, we need a new humanity,” one mournful tweet read with the hashtag 'Reina', the popular nightclub in the city's Besiktas district where the attack occurred.
Echoing the reaction to recent attacks including Paris and Dallas, many also asked people to “pray for Istanbul.”
With 2017 beginning with such a tragedy, social media users were left stuck for words at such a loss of life within only a few hours of the new year.
I'm speechless. I'm hopeless. I've been trying to write a tweet for the last 10 min and I just can't find the words to say. #reina— Capulcu Tonella (@diehimbeertonis) January 1, 2017
The light of hope for a new year has completely vanished leaving 39 deaths, pain and despair behind in the last #istanbulattack.— Aysenurka (@aysenursays) January 1, 2017
No terror group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, which involved at least one gunman, who was initially reported to have been wearing a Santa Claus costume. While there have been rumors of a second attacker, officials have said they are currently only hunting one suspect.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the attacks on Twitter on Sunday, calling them “brutal.”
2017 yılının ilk saatlerinde İstanbul’un Ortaköy semtinde meydana gelen terör saldırısını şiddetle kınıyorum.— Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RT_Erdogan) January 1, 2017
İstanbul’daki vahşi saldırı, terörün ayrım yapmadan kan dökmeyi, can almayı, can acıtmayı hedeflediğini açıkça ortaya koymuştur.— Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RT_Erdogan) January 1, 2017
Although the culprits and their motives are not yet known, for a number of netizens, they have already laid blame at the foot of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), while others have simply blamed the entire religion of Islam.
“Evil never rests. Or should I say the religion of peace never rests,” one tweet read, while Mustafa Akyol, a New York Times Opinion writer, vented online: “May their murderer, probably an ISIS terrorist, go to hell.”
I am so sad for the 39 innocent souls massacred in Istanbul #Reina last night. May their murderer, probably an ISIS terrorist, go to hell.— Mustafa Akyol (@AkyolinEnglish) January 1, 2017
Dear fellow progressives,— Aral Balkan (@aral) January 1, 2017
I’m an ex-Muslim, ex-Turkish citizen with Muslim parents. Hear me: #Reina has *everything* to do with Islam.
Russian President Vladimir Putin offered words of sympathy to those affected and said Russia will always remain Turkey’s partner in fighting terrorism.
“It is impossible to imagine a more cynical crime than the killing of civilians during the New Year,” Putin said. “But terrorists are devoid of any idea of human morals. Our common duty is to decisively strike back against the terrorist aggression.”
Vladimir Putin expressed condolences to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the terrorist attack in Istanbul https://t.co/9wciJ5Hu2M— President of Russia (@KremlinRussia_E) January 1, 2017
The White House has also condemned the attack, describing it as "horrific.""That such an atrocity could be perpetrated upon innocent victims, many of whom were celebrating New Year's Eve, underscores the savagery of the attackers," a statement read.
Statement on the terrorist attack in Istanbul, Turkey: pic.twitter.com/jTe2lMbA1c— The White House (@WhiteHouse) January 1, 2017
British Prime Minister Theresa May has yet to issue a statement on the attack, while foreign secretary Boris Johnson tweeted: “Thoughts with Turkey after cowardly act of terrorism in Istanbul nightclub attack. We stand shoulder to shoulder with our Turkish friends.”