Turkish government linked religious clerics gave anti-New Year’s sermons prior to brutal Islamic State attack on an Istanbul nightclub Sunday.
Just two days before the attack, a religious sermon vetted by government authorities told worshippers that celebrating New Year’s comes from “other cultures and other worlds.” The sermon continued, “We shall not forget that it is never suitable for a believer to forget himself and his aim of creation after a year passes from the stock of life, to exhibit illicit manners and behaviors that don’t comply with our values.”
ISIS propaganda urged attacks against Turkish party goers in the lead up to the holiday saying ISIS soldiers should “Turn their happiness and joy into grieves,” and “their feasts into funerals.” The Turkish government’s anti-New Year’s Eve celebration rhetoric drew concern from analysts, saying it could make citizens more susceptible to terrorist propaganda.
Turkish expert Professor Howard Eissenstat took to twitter to draw similarities between the attack and the government’s rhetoric saying:
Sunday’s attack struck at the heart of secular Turkish nightlife, targeting one of the most famous nightclubs in Istanbul. Nearly 600 people from around the world were gathered to ring in the New Year when a gunman opened fire, killing nearly 40. Turkish authorities have arrested 8 in connection with the attack, but the gunman remains at large.
Turkey is awash in terrorist attacks, with four carried out in the last month alone.
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