The Latest: Turkey makes veiled threat over Incirlik

AP News
Posted: Jan 04, 2017 6:26 AM
The Latest: Turkey makes veiled threat over Incirlik

ISTANBUL (AP) — The Latest on the Istanbul nightclub attack (all times local):

2:25 p.m.

Turkey's defense minister says a lack of support from Turkey's NATO allies in its operation to clear the Islamic State group from a town in northern Syria is leading many to question the country's permission for the U.S.-led coalition to use its air base.

In the past few weeks, Turkey has complained that the coalition forces aren't providing air cover to Turkish troops trying to capture the key IS-held town of al-Bab.

Fikri Isik said Wednesday: "this is leading to serious disappointment in the Turkish public opinion."

"We are telling our allies ... that this is leading to questions over Incirlik." He was referring to the air base in southern Turkey that is home to coalition planes involved in the anti-IS campaign. IS has claimed responsibility for the New Year's Istanbul nightclub attack that killed 39 people.

Isik said Turkey hoped all coalition forces, and especially the United States, will start to provide the aerial support and other support that the (Turkish military offensive) needs."

Turkey sent troops and tanks into northern Syria in August to drive back IS militants from a border area and curb the territorial advances of Syrian Kurdish groups.


1:40 p.m.

Police in Istanbul have set up checkpoints and are checking vehicles across the city as security levels remained high after the New Year's nightclub attack.

A lone gunman killed at least 39 people in the massacre, which the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for.

Police were stopping cars and Istanbul's ubiquitous yellow taxis, with passengers and drivers holding up their identifications while officers inspected inside the vehicles. Istanbul has been on high alert since the attack, with the gunman still at large.


1:30 p.m.

Turkey's president says that "to say Turkey has surrendered to terrorism is to take sides with the terrorists and terror organizations."

Recep Tayyip Erdogan was making his first public address to the nation since the Istanbul nightclub attack on New Year's that killed at least 39 people, mostly foreigners. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack and the gunman is still at large.

Erdogan said that "despite the sad start in the early hours of 2017, we strongly maintain our expectations for the new year."


1:20 p.m.

Turkey's president says that the Istanbul nightclub attack aims to set Turks against each other and deepen fault lines, but the country won't fall for this game.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the comments in a live speech from Ankara, the first time he has publicly addressed the nation since the New Year's attack that killed at least 39 people. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack and the gunman is still at large.

Responding to accusations in the past that Turkey had given support to the Islamic State group, Erdogan said that "to present the country which is leading the greatest struggle against Daesh as one supporting terrorism is what terror organization wants."

Erdogan said that "in Turkey, no one's way of life is under any threat. Those who claim this have to prove it. It is my duty to protect everyone's rights."


1 p.m.

Turkey's European Union affairs minister says the Islamic State group-claimed attack on the Istanbul nightclub was carried out in an "extremely professional way" and bears similarities to the Bataclan and Charlie Hebdo attacks in France.

Omer Celik told CNN Turk television in an interview Wednesday that it appeared that the gunman, who is still at large, had clearly received training "in the Middle East."

Celik said: "We are face to face with an attack that was carried out in an extremely profession way."

He continued by saying that the gunman "entered (the club) in a professional way, carried out the incident in a cool-blooded manner, and after staying in the kitchen for a while he left, vanishing without a trace."

Celik said the attacker was using methods "that avoid all modern intelligence techniques" of tracking, including acting alone, not contacting anyone and "not using technology."


10:35 a.m.

A Turkish Airlines jet carrying the bodies of two Indian citizens killed in shooting at an Istanbul nightclub last week has landed in Mumbai.

The bodies have been received by a governing party lawmaker, and the victims' relatives and friends.

Bollywood film producer-realtor Abis Rizvi's body was taken to his home in suburban Bandra for burial later Wednesday.

The 49-year-old Rizvi wrote, produced and directed a Bollywood movie "Roar: The Tigers of Sunderbans," in 2014 aimed at spreading awareness about tigers.

The other Indian victim of the Istanbul attack was Khushi Shah, a 39-year-old fashion designer from Vadodara, a city in the western Indian state of Gujarat. Shah's body was flown to her hometown for cremation later Wednesday, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.


9:35 a.m.

Turkey's state-run news agency says police have detained five suspected Islamic State group militants believed to be linked to the deadly Istanbul nightclub attack.

Anadolu Agency says the operation was launched in the Aegean port city of Izmir on Wednesday. It says the operation in continuing.

The gunman, who killed 39 people during New Year's celebrations, hasn't been publicly named and is still at large.

IS has claimed responsibility for the attack, which also wounded nearly 70 people.