I don’t want to sell entertainment at site of massacre, Reina co-owner says
ISTANBULThe co-owner of the Reina nightclub, which was attacked by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on Jan. 1, has said he no longer wishes to provide entertainment in a place in which a total of 39 people died and 65 people were wounded.
“Because of the villains, we sent bodies all over the world. I don’t want to sell entertainment in a place in which many people died. There are also many wounded people,” Ali Ünal told daily Habertürk, noting that he could not host people and play music at the location again.
Dubbing Reina one of the biggest brands in the world, Ünal said the brand needed to live on.
“Yes, this brand needs to live, but no one told us to make it live,” he said, criticizing authorities for not calling him.
“I don’t know if anyone called [the other co-owner] Mehmet Koçarslan, but no one called me. No one even called me from the Tourism Ministry,” he said.
Ünal said he was at the door of the nightclub when the attack began.
“When I fell to the ground, [confessed attacker Abdulkadir Masharipov] thought I was dead. I lost my friends and customers there. I can’t do business [there]. I don’t know if Koçarslan can or can’t,” he said.
During the interview, Ünal said he would not quit the entertainment business, but would not manage Reina in that area.
“I need to do my job. I’m doing this job and I understand it. I earn money from it. I do everything in the food and beverage sector. I do weddings and receptions. I can also run a buffet. However, I don’t want to run Reina in that area,” he also said.
Asked about the condition inside the nightclub, Ünal said, “If they wanted to open it tonight, they could do so.”
“There is no problem with that. The problem is with our mental state. The people who died there are still in my vision. How can I play music there? I didn’t take a single picture after the attack or allow people to do so. The only footage I received was the one in which I was fired upon. I took it for myself. I’ve been looking at it constantly,” he said.
There is a possibility that Reina could open in another spot, but Ünal said he would not be involved if it opens in the same location.
“I’m over materiality. This is another situation now,” he said.
Ünal also said “he could not be happy that he is alive.”
“I can’t be happy that I’m alive. It’s such a heavy burden. I’m only happy that I survived because of my son, so that he won’t grow up fatherless. I don’t feel well. I’m only breathing at the moment. I can’t sleep, but I’m against drugs. The drugs that the doctors will give me are obvious. I think I will get over it somehow. I have a family and there are people I’m responsible for. I have hundreds of personnel. There are people I need to take care of other than my family,” he said.