World Middle East 04 Jan 2017 Turkish President sa ...

Turkish President says Istanbul attack an attempt to ‘polarise’ society

AFP
Published Jan 4, 2017, 5:46 pm IST
Updated Jan 4, 2017, 6:35 pm IST
In his first remarks about Sunday’s attack, the president claimed it to be an attempt to create fissures in the society.
Medics carry a wounded person at the scene after an attack at a popular nightclub in Istanbul on Sunday. (Photo: AP)
 Medics carry a wounded person at the scene after an attack at a popular nightclub in Istanbul on Sunday. (Photo: AP)

Ankara: The Islamic State attack on an Istanbul nightclub that killed 39 people was aimed to polarise the Turkish society, said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday.

"The aim was clear -- to create a fissure and polarise society," he said in a speech at his presidential palace, in his first remarks on Sunday's pre-dawn attack, adding that the country “will stand tall and keep its sangfroid."

 

The president also said, "No one's lifestyle in Turkey is under a systematic threat. We would never let this happen. In 14 years in power, we have never given this a chance."

Hitting a nightclub on New Year's night, the attack struck at the heart of secular Turkey, with analysts saying IS clearly sought to widen splits in Turkish society.

"These attacks seek to make us put our emotions before our reason," said Erdogan reiterating that the attacks are not reasons to give in.

Erdogan, who first came to power in 2003 as prime minister, has been accused of presiding over a creeping Islamisation in Turkey and accentuating splits in society.

 

However, authorities firmly insist that Turkey remains to be a secular country and changes have only increased the right to freedom of worship for devout Muslims.

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