Directorate of Religious Affairs Head Mehmet Görmez released a statement on Jan. 1 condemning the deadly attack at a nightclub in central Istanbul, which claimed 39 lives, describing the act as “savage and horrific.”
“The people of Turkey are deeply hurt and saddened by the brutal armed attack committed against vulnerable individuals during the first hours of the new year. The action is savage and horrific. It is a murder and a massacre,” Görmez said.
“There is no difference whether this barbarous act is committed in a bazaar, a place of worship, or in an entertainment place. The targets of terrorists are not places but the people, the country, the nation and humanity. Terrorism can never be accepted, no matter who it is committed by or against whom it is committed,” he added.
“The only thing that differentiates the terrorist action committed tonight from others is that it aims to divide the nation and incite people from different lifestyles,” Görmez said.
A day before the attack, on Dec. 30, the Diyanet released its Friday sermon, calling on Muslims to remember that “at the end of the year gone by, it is completely unbecoming for a believer to forget about themselves and their purpose of creation and display unlawful attitudes and behavior that in no way comply with our values. It is worrying that the first hours of a new year are often turned into waste with the New Year entertainment style from other cultures.”