The jihadist, Abdulkadir Masharipov, on trial for the murder of 39 people in the Istanbul nightclub shooting has stated that he was targeting Christians.
In fact most of the victims were Muslim and it is not known if any Christians at all lost their lives in the Reina nightclub attack in the early hours of New Year’s Day, according to World Watch Monitor.
Abdulkadir, who was captured on January 16, told a court in Turkey that he was a member of Islamic State.
The terror group had stated its aim was revenge on Turkey for Syria bombings.
But Masharipov, said: ‘My purpose was to kill Christians.’
According to Hurriyet newspaper reporter Damla Guler, who obtained a court document, he went on: ‘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, married with two young children, trained in Afghanistan and was in regular contact with an IS handler, ‘Abu Jihad’, in the run-up to the attack.
Twelve Turkish Muslims died, but the rest were visiting from abroad, including seven from Saudi Arabia. A further 65 people were injured.
World Watch Monitor reports: ‘It’s unlikely Masaripov could have realistically planned to target Christians in his attack. Less than 2 per cent of Turkey’s 80 million people are non-Muslims, and of that small non-Muslim slice, Christians are a small fraction.
‘About 150,000 Turkish citizens are from ethnic Christian – Greek, Armenian and Syriac – backgrounds. In addition to a few thousand foreign Christians residing and working in the country, there are an estimated 7,000 Turkish Christian converts from Muslim backgrounds worshipping in small Protestant fellowships found mostly in larger cities.
Altogether, Christians in Turkey amount to roughly one out of every 500 people in the country.’