Kurds among Istanbul nightclub shooting victims

The killing spree during the first hour of the new year cost the lives of 11 Turkish nationals and 24 foreigners.
author_image Ari Khalidi

ISTANBUL, Turkey (Kurdistan24) - At least seven Kurds of Iraqi and Turkish nationalities were among the 39 killed and 69 wounded victims of the Islamic State (IS)-claimed New Year's mass shooting at an elite Bosphorus nightclub in Istanbul.

The killing spree during the first hour of the new year cost the lives of 11 Turkish nationals and 24 foreigners, a majority of them Saudis, as authorities were still trying to determine the identity of four others, reported Kurdistan24 Istanbul Bureau.

Three of the victims killed were Ahmad Rafiq Essam (25), Mustafa Jalal and Bilind Sirwan Osman (39) from the Kurdistan Region.

The bodies of Essam who was on holiday in Istanbul and Jalal, a college student were sent to Erbil on an airplane on Sunday night.

Family members of Osman, a pharmacist father-of-two from Erbil, took his body from an Istanbul forensic institute, said a Kurdistan24 reporter there.

Students and teaching staff at Istanbul Kemerburgaz University where Jalal was studying architecture held a memorial in his honor on Monday.

Three other injured people from the Kurdistan Region were recovering at an Istanbul hospital.

A Kurdish victim of the attack was Omer Basut from the Mardin province in Turkey. Basut was the head of the private security team at the Reina club, said a Kurdistan24 reporter.

A waiter working at Reina Kenan Kutluk (39), father of two girls, was among the killed.


[Reina worker, Kenan Kutluk with his two daughters. Source: Facebook]


Kutluk's body was buried in his village of Mescida Jerin, in the Zara district of the Sivas Province in the Qocgiri region.

There was at least one other Kurd from Turkey among the injured.

Some 600 people were partying at Reina, of whom 69 were wounded in the attack in which an IS militant used hand grenades and a machine gun.

The club Reina is named after the youngest daughter of its owner, businessman Mehmet Kocarslan who is from the Kurdish-Alevi province of Dersim, according to the Turkish daily Sabah.


Editing by Ava Homa

(Ercan Dag in Istanbul contributed to this report.)