In Turkey, lifestyle differences are being touted as a motivation for Saturday's massacre in a nightclub in Istanbul.
In Turkey, lifestyle differences are being touted as a potential motive for Saturday’s massacre in a nightclub in Istanbul.
The country’s Religious Affairs Directorate, which has condemned the attack, said in December that celebrating New Year did not fit with Muslim values.
This triggered criticism from some parts of Turkish society.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has dismissed the suggestion.
“Nobody’s lifestyle is under systematic threat in Turkey. We will never allow this. We haven’t allowed this since we took the helm 14 years ago. Anyone who claims otherwise must prove it with concrete examples.”
The president of Turkey also says the New Year massacre in a nightclub in Istanbul was a deliberate attempt to divide the nation.
Speaking in his first public speech since Saturday’s massacre in the Reina nightclub, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the aim was to “upset the balance, to pitch people against each other”.
“The goal is to polarise our society, that is very clear”, Erdogan said, adding: “We will stay strong and keep our composure”.
“These attacks try to push our emotions ahead of our reason. Even if we suffer as a result, it is no reason to give in.”
An attacker opened fire in the Reina nightclub on Saturday evening.
The venue was crowded with revellers who had gathered to celebrate the New Year.
39 people died and dozens more were injured.
ISIL have claimed responsibility.
There have been a number of arrests in connection with the case. However, the attacker is still at large.
The Turkish foreign minister said on Wednesday the identity of the gunman had been established.
27 people were reportedly detained in the western city of Izmir, according to the Dogan news agency.
On Tuesday, the state-run Anadolu agency said 14 people had been detained in connection with the attack.
NTV reported that two foreign nationals had been detained at Istanbul’s main airport.
The Turkish military, backed by Syrian rebel groups, is involved in an operation in the town of Al-Bab.
The ISIL bastion is in the north of Syria.
“The issue of Al-Bab will soon be sorted,” Erdogan said during his speech on Wednesday.