News & Politics

Turkey Arrests 8 After Istanbul New Year's Attack

Relatives cry during the funeral of Fatih Cakmak, one of the victims of the attack at a nightclub on New Year's Day, in Istanbul (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

The Turkish authorities have arrested eight people they believe are part of a terror cell responsible for the horrific terror attack at an Istanbul club on New Year’s Eve. Although these eight radical Muslims were arrested, the shooter himself is still at large.

The Turkish intelligence agency, the MIT, is known for basically knowing everything that happens in the country. Over the last few months, however, that image has been tarnished beyond all repair. Not only do they fail to prevent terror attacks, critics argue, they don’t even seem to be able to arrest the terrorists responsible for them. Not yet, at least.

Having said that, the investigation finally seems to be paying off.

Police in Istanbul detained eight suspects on Jan. 2 over alleged links to the deadly New Year terror attack at Istanbul nightclub Reina.

On Jan. 1, a gunman opened fire on New Year revelers at the Reina nightclub on the shores of Istanbul’s Bosporus, killing at least 39 people, including 25 foreigners, and wounding 65 before fleeing the scene.

The jihadist group claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement on Jan. 2.

Turkey has detained many journalists in the last few months, but I suggest that President Erdogan and his allies start to finally focus on those who actually cause trouble in Turkey, those who kill innocent people just because they aren’t “Islamic” enough. It’s well-known that there are many ISIS operatives inside Turkey at the moment. Instead of rounding up critical journalists, perhaps the Turkish police can start rounding those jihadists up, one by one. They have no business being in Turkey and they pose a major threat to Turks’ safety. This is a case where nobody (in the West) would criticize Erdogan’s use of emergency rule to implement a major crackdown.

It’s time for the Turkish president to act. ISIS and other radical Islamic groups have to be completely and utterly destroyed, not only in Syria, but also in Turkey itself. If Erdogan becomes as passionate about fighting ISIS as he is about fighting “FETÖ” (the group of people sympathizing with controversial Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen), ISIS will soon be so weakened in Turkey that they won’t be able to stage mass attacks any longer. It may come as a surprise to some, but I’m rather old-fashioned about these things: it’s the government’s main responsibility to protect its citizens. Clearly, ISIS and other radical Islamic terror groups pose a tremendous threat. Destroy them, all of them; declare war on them and wipe them out, no matter where they’re hiding.