- Explosion at a wound on a busy sidewalk 81
- Erdogan calls it a bomb and vows the culprits will be punished
- No one has claimed responsibility for the explosion
- Turkish cities were targeted in a series of attacks in 2015-2016
ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Six people were killed in an explosion that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called a “terrorist-smelling” bomb attack on a busy pedestrian street in central Istanbul on Sunday. 81 people were injured.
Ambulances rushed to the packed Istiklal Street, which police quickly closed off. The area, located in the Beyoğlu district of Turkey’s largest city, was as usual crowded with shoppers, tourists and families on weekends.
Video footage obtained by Reuters shows the moment the explosion occurred at 4:13 p.m.
About four hours after the explosion, Vice President Phat Oktay and Interior Minister Suleiman Soylu visited the blast site.
Oktay reiterated that 81 people were injured and six people were killed in the explosion.
“This issue will be resolved soon,” Okta told reporters.
“Efforts to defeat Turkey and the Turkish people through terrorism will fail today as they did yesterday,” Erdogan said at a press conference in Istanbul.
“Our people can be confident that the perpetrators behind the attacks will get the punishment they deserve.
“It would be wrong to say this was definitely a terrorist attack, but the first developments and first information from my governor is that it smells like terrorism,” he added.
No one has claimed responsibility for the explosion. Istanbul and other Turkish cities have been targeted in the past by Kurdish separatists, Islamic extremists and other groups, including a series of attacks in 2015 and 2016.
Footage from Reuters shows people attending victims after the blast, and then investigators in white costumes collecting materials from the scene, where debris from concrete planters littered the streets.
Mehmet Aksu, 45, a restaurant worker in Istiklal, said: “When I heard the explosion, I was horrified. would,’ he said.
“My relatives called me. They know I’m working on Istiklal. I reassured them,” he told Reuters.
A helicopter flew over the scene and a number of ambulances were parked in nearby Taksim Square. The Turkish Red Crescent said the blood was being transferred to a nearby hospital.
Vice President Oktay said, “We consider it an act of terrorism.”
If confirmed, it will be the first large-scale blast in Istanbul in several years.
Two bombings outside a football stadium in Istanbul in December 2016 were carried out in attacks claimed by a faction of the extremist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the European Union and the United States. , 38 people were killed and 155 injured.
Several countries, including Greece, Egypt, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, Azerbaijan, Italy and Pakistan, have condemned the attack and offered condolences to the victims.
European Council President Charles Michel took to Twitter to offer his condolences to the victims after the “horrifying news”.
Additional reporting by Azra Seilan, written by Jonathan Spicer.Editing by Gareth Jones and Jane Merriman
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