Who were they? Remembering the Turkey nightclub shooting victims

By Ang Li

Around 600 people were celebrating the new year when a gunman stormed an Istanbul nightclub, killing 39. The club is known for drawing celebrities and guests from around the world.

Let’s take a moment to remember some of the victims who died in the shooting. The list will be updated as more information becomes available.


Alaa Al-Muhandis/Facebook

Alaa Al-Muhandis, a Canadian mother of two, was an event planner at an auto sales company. Al Muhandis’s husband, Asal Ahmed, described her as “outgoing, optimistic and loving” in a statement to CBC. Her friends echoed those sentiments.


Two Indian nationals, Khushi Shah, left and Abis Rizvi/Facebook

Khushi Shah, a 27-year-old fashion designer from Mumbai, was visiting Istanbul on a business trip. Shah’s older brother Akshay Shah and cousin Hiren Chawra headed to Turkey to identify and repatriate her body, CNN reported.

A Bollywood director and film producer, Abis Rizvi, 49, was among the victims of the massacre. Rizvi died before he could finish his latest project, T for Taj Mahal. He was the producer and co-writer of the Indian feature film Roar: Tigers of the Sundarbans and docu-drama He-Man.


An Iraqi student, Jalal Abbas, did not survive the attack.

Bulent Sirvan Osman, a father of two, was on a business trip to Turkey from Iraq when he died, according to the BBC.


Layan Nasser

Layan Nasser was a Palestinian citizen of Israel. The 18-year-old was on her first trip abroad to celebrate the new year with her friends, despite her father’s concerns about safety, CNN reported. Nasser graduated from high school last June and aspired to be a dentist. Her three friends, one injured, survived the attack, according to the Jerusalem Post.


Nawras Assaf and Mohammad Al-Sarraf were with their wives celebrating the new year when they died. Their wives were injured but survived the attack, the BBC said.


Haikal Mussalem, left/Facebook

Haikal Mussalem, 39, was a Lebanese banker and fitness club owner. He was at the club with his wife, who survived the shooting.

Rita Chami and Elias Wardini/Instagram

Rita Chami and Elias Wardini were Lebanese students. Wardini worked as a personal trainer.

Saudi Arabia

Lubna Ghaznawi, left, and Shahad Samman, right/Facebook

A communications manager at one of Saudi Arabia’s largest banks, Lubna Ghaznawi was 34. She co-owned a startup with her sister called Exclusave Card, the first student discount card in Saudi Arabia.

Shahad Samman, 26, was a lawyer, according to her Facebook profile.

Twin brothers Mohammed and Ahmed Saud Al-Fadl were 24 and recent university graduates.


Mohamed Azzabi and Senda Nakaa left behind a 5-month-old baby, BBC reported.


Burak Yildiz, Kenan Kutluk and Hatice Koc Karcilar (pictured twice)/Facebook

Burak Yildiz (above left) was a 22-year-old police officer.

Among the victims, many worked at the club. Hatice Koc Karcilar, survived by a 3-year-old child, was working as a private security guard at the club’s New Year’s celebrations. That’s her on the far right, and again with another victim Kenan Kutluk (above middle) who also worked at the club.

Fatih Çakmak/Facebook

The Reina nightclub shooting was not Fatih Çakmak’s first time witnessing a tragedy, the Daily Sabah reported. The 32-year-old security guard was a survivor of the Besiktas stadium blast by Kurdish militants on Dec. 10, which killed 38.

Yunus Görmek, 23, a fellow security guard, was also killed.

Mustafa Kaya was a financial advisor. The Daily Mail reported his body was returned to his hometown of Kastamonu, Turkey.

Mehmet Kerim Akyil, 23, was a restaurant manager. He traveled to Istanbul with his girlfriend to celebrate the new year.

Mesut Gürbüz, 28, was a Turkish tourism representative working in Germany, the Daily Mail reported.

Ayhan Arik, a 47-year-old travel agent who drove tourists to the party at the club, is survived by his two children, the Telegraph reported.

Mustafa Sezgin Seymen/Facebook

Sezan Arseven remembers her fiancé, Mustafa Sezgin Seymen, 32, pictured above. She posted on Facebook: “I lost my other half. I lost my partner, my love.”