The staunchly pro-government Star daily has claimed that the faith-based Gülen movement was behind a terrorist attack on a popular nightclub in İstanbul that left 39 people dead on New Year’s Day.
At slightly after 1 a.m. on New Year’s Day, a man wielding a Kalashnikov rifle killed a policeman and a civilian outside the entrance to the popular Reina nightclub and blazed his way into the club, randomly shooting at some of the hundreds of revelers bringing in the new year.
Although the terrorist Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attack that also wounded 69 people, Star, claimed in its top story on Tuesday that “FETÖ” was behind the attack.
FETÖ is a derogatory term coined by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government to refer to members of the Gülen movement.
The Gülen movement is a global civil society movement inspired by the views of US-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who the AKP government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accuse of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, despite Gülen’s repeated denials of any involvement.
Star claimed Deltavip, the company providing security to Reina, is affiliated with the Gülen movement and that Deltavip’s executive board president, Orhan Özcan, is among the financiers of the movement.