(World Watch Monitor) — The man charged with killing 39 people on New Year’s Eve at Istanbul’s exclusive Reina nightclub attack, Abdulkadir Masharipov, has testified before a Turkish court, saying, “My purpose was to kill Christians.”
The Uzbek national was arraigned in court 11 Feb., nearly a month after he was captured by Istanbul police 16 Jan. He told the judge interrogating him at the hearing that he was a member of the so-called Islamic State, which had claimed responsibility for the attack the following day. IS had defined the massacre as revenge for Turkish military involvement in Syria.
But Masaripov insisted that he did not consider his actions as an attack against the Turkish state, according to Hurriyet newspaper reporter Damla Guler, citing a confidential court document on 13 Feb.
Rather, the jihadist said, “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. Observance of New Year’s Day is discouraged by many orthodox Muslims.