Still, on the run, the assailant who attacked the Reina, one of the most famous nightclubs of the Turkish metropolis, was identified and his home searched, said Wednesday the head of diplomacy Mevlüt Cavusoglu, quoted by The pro-government news agency Anadolu.
"The identity of the person responsible for the attack has been established," Cavusoglu said without giving a name. "The efforts to capture him (the suspect) continue" and his house "was searched," he added, referring to a "professionally" organized attack.
The authorities disseminated several images of the alleged perpetrator who, for the first time in Turkey, was directly claimed by the jihadist Islamic State (EI) group.
According to Anadolu, at least 20 people, including 11 women, suspected of links with the IA were arrested Wednesday morning in Izmir (west).
Investigations in their apartments led to the discovery of night vision goggles, military equipment, and false passports, according to the Dogan news agency.
The people arrested were from Central Asia and Syria, according to Anadolu. On Tuesday, the Turkish media reported that the killer could himself originate from Kyrgyzstan or Uzbekistan.
The aim of the attack is to "pit one against the other", warned President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, stressing a risk of "polarization" after the publication of messages on social networks criticizing the lifestyle of the people killed In the disco.
"The way of life of no one is threatened in a systematic way, we will not allow it," said the head of the Islamic-conservative state in his first public speech since the attack.
- 36 arrests -
Wednesday's arrests bring the number of police custody in the investigation to at least 36. Among them, according to Turkish media, include the wife of the alleged assailant.
The carnage in Reina marked a bloody start to the year for Turkey, already shaken in 2016 by a coup attempt and a wave of murderous attacks by jihadists or the Kurdish rebellion.
The state of emergency, set up after the failed coup in July, was further extended by the Turkish Parliament on Tuesday evening.
Less than an hour and a half after the start of the new year, a man armed with an assault rifle had sprung up in front of the Reina discotheque on the shores of the Bosphorus on the European side of the city, killing two people Entrance before penetrating inside and sowing death by shooting 120 bullets on the revelers.
A huge manhunt was triggered to question the killer, who would have fled the nightclub by changing clothes.
According to the Dogan agency, after the massacre, the assailant took a taxi to Zeytinburnu on the European side of Istanbul and then borrowed money from a restaurant to pay for his run.
The restaurant owner, interviewed by Dogan, confirmed the detention of some of his employees.
Several media said at the beginning of the week that the alleged killer had settled in November in Konya (south) with his wife and their two children in order not to arouse suspicion.
The attack took place when the Turkish army attempted to take back the town of Al-Bab, a stronghold of the EI in northern Syria at war, at the cost of heavy casualties, where Ankara was carrying out an offensive against The jihadists, but also against the Kurdish militias.
By claiming the carnage of the Reina, the EI criticized Turkey, a country with a Muslim majority, its intervention in Syria and its participation in the coalition led by the United States which fights the jihadist group in Syria and Iraq.
On Wednesday again, a Turkish soldier was killed and three were wounded in an IA attack in Al-Bab, while 14 jihadists died in Turkish strikes, according to Anadolu.
To date, about forty Turkish soldiers have lost their lives in this military operation.