Istanbul Attack Prompts Calls For Turkish Government’s Resignation

The hashtag #GovernmentResignation was used nearly 7,000 times in the wake of the Reina nightclub attack to protest the government and what many deem as a mismanagement of Turkey's national security

Relatives react at the funeral of Ayhan Arik, a victim of the attack — REUTERS
Jan 01, 2017 at 12:03 PM ET

Thousands of people are calling for the Turkish government to resign after a gunman opened fire in a popular nightclub in Istanbul packed with people who were ringing in the new year in the early hours of Sunday morning. At least 39 people were killed in what authorities are now billing as a terror attack.

A lone gunman opened fire at 1:15 am in the trendy Reina nightclub located on the shores of the Bosporus where approximately 600 revelers were celebrating the new year, according to news reports.  Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu was cited by a local news source saying that a total of 15 foreigners were among those killed in the club, which is frequented by a clientele that includes celebrities and soccer stars. At least 65 people were also wounded in the attack.

The hashtag  (#GovernmentResignation) was used nearly 7,000 times in the wake of the attack to protest the government and what many deem as a mismanagement of Turkey’s national security.

“If the government can not provide peace and security to their citizens, we don’t need them! This government is incapable and cruel,” one user tweeted in Turkish. Another said “It is shame, it is sin! Enough! If you still didn’t learn how to manage the country, just leave.”

The outrage and the hashtag was repeated across Twitter. “If the current government doesn’t change, if the current constitution doesn’t change, these bloody attacks will continue,” said another user who joined the chorus of tweets of those who condemned the attacks.

Some who support Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government appropriated the hashtag by using it to call out his opponents for celebrating the attack as a win against his policies.

Those who say #GovernmentResignation, you couldn’t beat us with coup attempt and now you are trying to beat us with terrorism. We won’t let you do that!” a user said, referring to last summer’s failed coup. Other said those attacking the government for the shooting were “collaborators” who should “leave the country.”

More Turkey Set To Push ISIS From Strategic Town In Syria

The attack marks an end a bloody year for Turkey, where terrorist attacks in 2016 claimed more than 200 lives. The country is part of a U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS and it’s been at war with Kurdish militias for decades. Turkey is still recovering from an attempted coup in July that killed at least 265 people. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, which authorities believe was carried out by one person, who is still at large. Turkey’s interior minister said ISIS, Kurdish militants and far-left groups are among those named as culprits of the attack, according to an NPR report.