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President Erdogan responds to Istanbul nightclub massacre

Turkey has been rocked by another militant attack [AFP]

Date of publication: 1 January, 2017

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Turkey's leader has said the attack on an Istanbul nightclub aimed at spreading disunity and that the country would continue to fight 'terrorism'.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that a militant attack on an Istanbul nightclub during New Year celebrations sought to create chaos in Turkey.

"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," Erdogan said in a statement on the presidency website.

Erdogan did not blame any particular group but promised Turkey would continue to fight "terrorism".

"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.

He added that Turkey would deploy all means in the fight against "terror organisations" and the countries supporting them, without elaborating.

Details of the attack are still filtering through but it appears that a gunman dressed in a santa costume stormed one of Turkey's most exclusive night club's at around 1:30am on New Year's Day and fired into crowds.

"The attacker - in the most brutal and merciless way - targeted innocent people who had only come here to celebrate the New Year and have fun," Vasip Sahin, governor of Istanbul said.

The attack left at least 39 dead with many more feared killed in the attack.

Turkey has come under attack from Kurdish and Islamic State group militants over the past year.

However, the nature of the attack and the target chosen would indicate IS were responsible, despite no claim yet being made by the group.

IS has claimed other attacks in Turkey in 2016, such as the bombing of a wedding in August and the killing of 45 people at Istanbul airport.

Agencies contributed to this story.

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