At least 39 people were killed and 69 wounded when one gunman shot his way into an Istanbul nightclub packed with scores of New Year revellers on Sunday.
At least 16 foreigners were among the people killed, Turkish interior minister Suleyman Soylu said, AFP reported. Soylu said in televised comments that of 21 victims who have been identified so far, 16 are foreigners and five are Turks.
Another 69 people are being treated in hospital for their wounds. The provincial governor has called it a terrorist attack.
Reuters reported Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin saying that the assailant shot a police officer and a civilian before entering the Reina nightclub and opened fire inside
"A terrorist with a long-range weapon ... brutally and savagely carried out this attack by firing bullets on innocent people who were there solely to celebrate the New Year and have fun," Sahin told reporters.
Indicating that the attacker was still at large, Soylu said: "The search for the terrorist continues... I hope (the assailant) will be captured quickly, God willing."
Some local media reports suggested there were multiple attackers. Dogan news agency said there were two gunmen dressed in Santa Claus outfits.
The Hurriyet newspaper cited witnesses as saying there were multiple attackers and that they shouted in Arabic.
"We were having fun. All of a sudden people started to run. My husband said don't be afraid, and he jumped on me. People ran over me. My husband was hit in three places," one club-goer, Sinem Uyanik, told the newspaper.
"I managed to push through and get out, it was terrible," she said, describing seeing people soaked in blood and adding that there appeared to have been at least two gunmen.
People jumped into waters of Bosphorous to save themselves
The nightclub in Ortakoy, known to be popular with both the locals and foreigners, overlooks the Bosphorus Strait. According to CNN Turk, about 500 to 600 people were attending the New Year celebrations at the nightclub when the gunman fired at around 1.15 am. Some jumped into the Bosphorous to save themselves and were later rescued by the police.
A woman stands near an ambulance after fleeing from the club. (Reuters)