Turkey Nightclub Massacre Gunman Says He Wanted To Kill Christians — But Murdered Mostly Muslims Instead
"My purpose was to kill Christians."
That was the terse explanation given by the man charged with killing 39 people on the first hour of 2017 at Istanbul's exclusive Reina nightclub, the World Watch Monitor (WWM) reported.
Abdulkadir Masharipov, an Uzbek national, made the statement while testifying before a Turkish court last week, nearly a month after he was arrested by police in Istanbul.
But there is one glaring problem in his testimony: There were few, if any, known Christians among the people he killed and injured in his seven-minute rampage at the nightclub just after New Year's Eve on Jan. 1, 2017.
The fatalities included 12 Muslim Turkish citizens. The rest were visiting foreigners, more than half of them Muslim Arab nationals, including seven Saudis, according to WWM.
About 600 New Year's Eve revellers were at the nightclub when Masharipov mowed them down with his Kalashnikov assault rifle.
Turkish security sources said the attacker was a highly trained killer who used special forces techniques to cause maximum mayhem, the Daily Mail reported. He used armour-piercing bullets known for their tendency to ricochet as well as penetrate barriers, creating terrible carnage in the crowded nightclub, they said.
He even used flares to light up his targets, the sources said.
Eyewitnesses also said the attacker appeared calm while systematically killing his victims.
During the hearing, Masharipov admitted that he was a member of the Islamic State (ISIS), which had claimed responsibility for the attack. ISIS claimed that the massacre was in revenge for Turkey's military support for the coalition battling the jihadist forces in Syria.
But Masharipov reportedly claimed that his attack was not against the state of Turkey although the first person he shot dead was a Turkish policeman stationed outside the nightclub.
"I believed it was an act of revenge against the murderous actions carried out by the world's Christians, an act of retaliation on their holiday," Masharipov told the court, according to Hurriyet newspaper, which based its report on a confidential court document.
The self-confessed ISIS terrorist said he had planned to commit suicide after the attack rather than be captured. He also declared that he did not regret what he had done, even urging the court to sentence him to death.