Ottawa

Ottawa's Turkish community worries nightclub attack new normal

Members of Ottawa's Turkish community say they're worried the New Year’s Eve attack in Istanbul represents a new normal for their home country.

Canadian among 39 killed in Istanbul nightclub shooting

People carry the coffin of Yunus Gormek, 23, one of the victims of the Reina night club attack, during his funeral ceremony on Jan. 2 in Istanbul. (Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images)

Members of Ottawa's Turkish community say they're worried the New Year's Day attack in Istanbul represents a new normal for their home country. 

The day after, Mete Pamir strapped on his cross-country skies at Bayshore Park in Nepean, a distraction, he says, from the ongoing turmoil in his home country.

Pamir grew up in Istanbul and went to university near the scene of the New Year's Day attack that left 39 people dead, including a woman from Milton, Ont.

Mete Pamir says he still has close friends living in Turkey. (CBC)

A gunman killed a policeman and another man outside the Reina club in the early hours of 2017 before entering and firing an automatic rifle at an estimated 600 people partying inside.

When he first heard what had happened, Pamir said the anxiety he felt was "unbearable."

"I was like locked into the social media and following their emotions and thoughts. It was a multiplication of anxiety," he said.

'Continuous shocks'

It's not the first time he's felt this way.

The attack on Istanbul's airport in June left more than 40 people dead, and hundreds died after a failed military coup in July.

"It has been a series of continuous shocks," he said.

Helin Burkay said she's been feeling the same for the past few months.

Helin Burkay moved to Ottawa from Turkey to finish her PhD at Carleton University. (CBC)

She left Turkey, and her family, to come to Ottawa to complete her PhD at Carleton University. Since the New Year's Day attack Burkay said her feelings about Turkey's violence have started to shift.

"I think my feelings changed from being super alarmed into some sort of numbness toward what's going on," she said.

Both Burkay and Pamir say they're not optimistic the violence will subside.

Eight people had been detained in connection to the attack. The gunman, who escaped, wasn't among the eight. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is claiming responsibility for the attack.

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