Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu did not give the name of the assailant who shot and killed 39 people on New Year's Day.

Of the 39 victims, 27 were foreigners including citizens from Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Tunisia and Morocco.
Of the 39 victims, 27 were foreigners including citizens from Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Tunisia and Morocco. (TRT World and Agencies)

The identity of the gunman who carried out the New Year's Day nightclub massacre has been established, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday.

The suspect killed 39 people and injured 69 others at the Reina nightclub in Istanbul's Ortakoy district in the early hours of Sunday morning.

He escaped the scene in the chaos following the attack claimed by Daesh and remains at large.

Cavusoglu did not give any details about the identity of the attacker.

TRT World's Christine Pirovolakis reports.

Erdogan rejects "attempt to divide Turks"

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that linking lifestyle differences with the nightclub attack was a deliberate attempt to divide the nation and that the state never meddled in how people lived.

"There is no point trying to blame the Ortakoy attack on differences in lifestyles," Erdogan said in a speech at the presidential palace in Ankara.

"Nobody's lifestyle is under systematic threat in Turkey. We will never allow this," he added.

Manhunt intensifies

Authorities on Wednesday said they had detained 20 Daesh suspects including 11 women in the western city of Izmir as the manhunt for the gunman who carried out the attack intensified.

These suspects, who are of Syrian, East Turkestan and Dagestan origin, had allegedly stayed with the suspect at a residence in Konya.

During the raids, the police recovered sniper scopes, night vision equipment, GPS devices and various other military gear.

The authorities have also detained the alleged attacker's wife and two children.

On Monday and Tuesday, 16 people were taken into custody on suspicion of links to the attack.

Turkish news channels have broadcast a selfie video of the alleged attacker in which he could be seen ahead of the attack walking on streets with his face in focus.

Other video footage shows the assailant shooting his way into the Reina nightclub, then hailing a taxi after the killing rampage.

Security analysts say the way the gunman carried out the attack indicates that he was not an amateur and had some experience in warfare.

The authorities on Tuesday detained two foreigners at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport just before they tried to leave the city.

US President Barack Obama on Tuesday spoke with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan by telephone and offered his condolences for the victims of the attack.

Turkey's parliament has extended for three more months a nationwide state of emergency introduced after last July's coup attempt.


Source: TRTWorld and agencies