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Does New Year's nightclub attack signal tough year ahead for Turkey?

As transnational networks of the Islamic State come under increasing pressure in Iraq and Syria, they are likely to shift to Turkey, while Ankara still gives priority to the Kurdistan Workers Party.

As 2016 was ending, millions of Turks were hoping that the struggles against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the Islamic State (IS) and armed leftist organizations would be over and 2017 would be less violent. But an attack by an IS militant in the first two hours of the new year at Reina, a popular, highbrow nightclub on the Bosporus, ruined those hopes.

The attacker, who targeted about 600 revelers, including the families of rich Arabs, first used his AK-47 to kill a 20-year-old policeman at the door and a security guard and entered the club. He dazed the crowd by hurling flash-bang grenades and then calmly fired about 180 armor-piercing bullets. In this six-minute ordeal, the attacker, most likely a Central Asian man, according to the authorities, killed 39 people and wounded 68 others before he found his way out of the club. He took a taxi to Zeytinburnu, where mostly Uighur Turks and other Central Asians live, and disappeared.

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