Istanbul: Explosion Kills Six, President Hints At Terrorist Involvement

Istanbul: Explosion Kills Six, President Hints At Terrorist Involvement
Forces and forensics surveying the blast site at Istiklal Avenue, Beyoglu district, Istanbul | Image source: CNN

An explosion in Turkey’s Beyoglu district on Sunday led to the death of at least six people, and left 81 injured. The horrifying incident took place at the people-packed Istiklal Avenue, in Beyoglu – the largest district of Istanbul. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hinted at involvement of terrorists, saying that the attack “smells like terrorism”.

Since the environment in Turkey has been peaceful in recent years, the sudden attack has left the entire nation in shock. The explosion occurred at about 4:20 pm (13:20 GMT) on Sunday, and reportedly officials have reason to believe that a woman executed the act with the help of two accomplices. 

Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ told the media about the possible suspect – a woman who was recorded sitting and wandering around the street for about 40 minutes. Reportedly, video evidence shows that the explosion occurred just minutes after she got up.

Some officials believe that she may have been a member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK); the terrorist group had previously initiated a ‘string of deadly bombings’ on the country between 2015 and 2017.

Statement from the authorities also mentions the involvement of two other individuals. One of the officials said, “I learned from my sources that the other two suspects are two very young men who were born after 2000.” Authorities have explained there might be ‘two possibilities’ of how the explosion happened. “There’s either a mechanism placed in this bag and it explodes, or someone remotely explodes [it],” they informed.

Although ambulances raced to the scene with haste, the explosion has taken at least six lives so far out of whom four people died from impact at the scene, while two others who were brought to the hospital died soon after.

Condemning the ‘treacherous’ attack, Vice President Fuat Oktay told reporters, “We consider it to be a terrorist act as a result of an attacker, whom we consider to be a woman, detonating the bomb. Our people can rest assured that the culprits behind the attack will be punished as they deserve.”

In a press conference on Monday, Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu talked to the reporters about the possible organisations who could have instigated the attack. “It is PKK/PYD terrorist organisation according to our preliminary findings,” he claimed.

Although no organisation has claimed responsibility for the attack, the main suspect has been booked by the police for questioning. In his press conference, Soylu shared, “A little while ago the person who left the bomb (was) taken under custody by teams of Istanbul Police Department. Before their arrest 21 more people were also taken under custody.” Soylu further added, “The face of terrorism is bitter, but we will continue this struggle to the end, whatever the cost is.”

Condolences for the victims and their families have been pouring in from around the globe.

President Erdoğan shared, “I wish God’s mercy on our brothers who died in the bomb attack, patience for their relatives, and a speedy recovery to our wounded.” He wished for the nation and Istanbul to get ‘well soon’.

India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi also extended condolences on the country’s behalf, wishing a ‘speedy recovery’ to the injured and offering sympathies to the victims. “India conveys its deepest condolences to the Government and people of Türkiye on the tragic loss of lives in the blast that took place in Istanbul today,” tweeted Bagchi.


Read more: China Prepares Army For War Amid Tension With Taiwan

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