Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker pledged Turkey the EU’s “continued support” in its fight against terrorism yesterday (1 January), after the New Year’s Eve nightclub attack that killed 39 people.
No suspect has yet been caught in the manhunt for the gunman, after the shooting attack at the upmarket nightclub left dozens more injured.
It was the final terrorist attack of 2016 in Europe, and one of its most deadly, following hard on from the Christmas market attack in Berlin, which left 12 dead.
Noone has yet claimed responsibility for the Istanbul shooting.
In a statement, Juncker offered his condolences to the victims and their families, adding, “It is our common responsibility to repel terrorism. Let me assure you and through you the people of Turkey that you can count on our continued support in this endeavour.
“In my personal name and that of the whole European Commission, I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to you and my solidarity with the victims and their loved ones.”
That was echoed by EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini, who tweeted:
2017 starts with an attack in #Istanbul. Our thoughts are with victims and their loved ones. We continue to work to prevent these tragedies
— Federica Mogherini (@FedericaMog) January 1, 2017
So far, the dead include citizens from Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Tunisia, Kuwait and Israel, as well as a Belgian-Turkish dual national and a Canadian-Iraqi. The Jordanian foreign ministry said three of its citizens were also killed in the attack.
World leaders from President Barack Obama to Pope Francis condemned the attack, with Turkish leaders pledging a hard crackdown.
In addition to the failed military coup, Turkey has suffered a string of terror attacks in the past year, including a bomb outside an Istanbul footballl stadium in December, which killed 46.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vowed in a statement that Turkey would fight terrorism “till the end”.
EU relations with Turkey are particularly fraught at the moment, with accession talks in deep freeze, and the 2015 Valletta deal on a migrant swap seeming precarioius as Istanbul continues its crackdown on alleged plotters in the 2016 bid to overthrow Erdogan.
On 19 December – the same day as the Berlin attack – the Russian ambassador to Turkey was publically assassinated at the opening of an art exhibition.