The Latest: Turkey premier slams US for backing Syrian Kurds


ISTANBUL (AP) — The Latest on the manhunt for the Istanbul nightclub attacker and the aftermath of the massacre (all times local):

12:50 p.m.

Turkey’s prime minister has slammed the Obama administration for backing Syrian Kurdish forces which Turkey considers to be terrorists, and urged President-elect Donald Trump to put an end to “this shame.”

Binali Yildirim said that Turkey’s military had killed more than 1,200 Islamic State militants since the start of its military incursion into northern Syria in August, insisting that Turkey was the country leading the most effective fight against the extremist group.

Yildirim was addressing members of the ruling party in parliament a day after IS claimed responsibility for the Istanbul nightclub attack, which killed 39 New Year’s revelers.

Yildirim said: “They are pretending to fight Daesh. Turkey is the only country that is leading a fight. The United States isn’t doing anything.”

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12:10 p.m.

Turkish tourism industry professionals have marched to the nightclub where 39 New Year’s revelers were killed, in a show of solidarity and to protest a spate of attacks that has crippled the sector.

About 200 people, including restaurateurs, hotel owners and gastronomy students, took part in the protest, marching behind a large banner that read: “We won’t be daunted! For our tomorrows.”

Turkey’s crucial tourism industry has suffered enormously after a series of recent attacks in the country.

The nightclub assailant, armed with a long-barreled weapon, killed a policeman and a civilian early Sunday outside the Reina club before entering and firing at some of the estimated 600 people inside.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the nightclub attack.

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11:45 a.m.

Turkish media are quoting security experts as saying that the man who killed 39 and wounded nearly 70 people in a New Year’s nightclub attack in Istanbul before fleeing the scene is a highly professional assassin.

The English-language Daily News quoted anti-terror expert Abdullah Agar as saying the way the attacker operated shows that “he is absolutely a killer and he probably shot at humans before.”

Agar is quoted as saying that “the attacker is determined, faithful, practical, coldblooded expert and knows how to get results … he probably fired bullets in real clash zones.”

The nightclub assailant, armed with a long-barreled weapon, killed a policeman and a civilian early Sunday outside the Reina club before entering and firing at some of the estimated 600 people inside.

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10:50 a.m.

The United Arab Emirates has warned its citizens not to travel to Turkey following the attack on an Istanbul nightclub that killed 39 people.

The UAE’s Foreign Ministry has issued a terse statement in Arabic to “postpone plans to travel to Turkey until further notice.”

While no Emirati was killed in the attack, one Kuwaiti and seven Saudis were killed in the New Year’s assault.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attack at the Reina nightclub.

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10:40 a.m.

Turkish media have run a “selfie video” of a man they say is the gunman who killed 39 people at an Istanbul nightclub.

The video broadcast on Turkish television Tuesday shows the alleged gunman filming himself at Taksim square. It wasn’t immediately clear if it was filmed before or after the New Year’s massacre at the Reina nightclub.

The Islamic State group claimed the attack. The gunman, who is still at large, hasn’t been identified.

Several media reports said the man was believed to be from a Central Asian nation. Haber Turk newspaper said the man is thought to be a member of China’s Muslim Uighur minority. It said he arrived in the Turkish city of Konya with his wife and two children. His family was detained, it said.

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