Six dead in the attack, as far as we know

An explosion occurred in a crowded neighborhood

According to the latest reports, the powerful explosion, which injured 81 people, two of them in critical condition, happened at around 16:20, when the crowd was especially dense in this popular place for Istanbulites and tourists.

Fearing a second blast, police immediately set up a wide security cordon to prevent access to the damaged area. Strong security forces have also closed all entrances to the neighborhood and adjacent streets. “I was 50-55 m away, suddenly there was an explosion. I saw three or four people on the ground,” said a 57-year-old witness named Cemal Denizci. “People were running in panic. The noise was great. There was black smoke. The sound was so loud it was almost deafening,” he said.

According to the images circulated on social networks at the time of the explosion, the sound accompanied by the fire was heard from a distance and immediately caused panic. These images show a large black crater with several fallen bodies lying nearby. Immediately after the explosion, there were rumors of a suicide attack without any confirmation or evidence. It was not possible to launch an attack in the evening.


Members of the Istanbul scientific police are at the scene

YASIN AKGUL/AFP

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu quickly went there. In the neighboring Galata district, many shops lowered their curtains early. Tears filled the eyes of some people who came running from the place of explosion.

Istiklal Street, which means “Istiklal” in the historical district of Beyoglu, is one of the most famous arteries of the city, it is 1.4 km pedestrian. Crossed by an old tramway full of shops and restaurants, it is used by around 3 million people every day on weekends. He had already suffered a suicide attack in March 2016 that killed five people.

“Woman” is accused

In his statement to the press, Vice President Fuat Oktay did not say whether the woman who “triggered the bomb” on Sunday evening was among the victims. Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdag touched the “bag” lying on the bench: “A woman sat on the bench for 40-45 minutes and after a while there was an explosion. Currently, all information about this woman is being reviewed,” he continued. “Either this bag had a timer on it, or someone activated it remotely,” he said.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was the first to condemn the “heinous attack” on live television: “The first observations indicate a terrorist act,” the head of state said, adding that “a woman will also participate in this case.”

“The perpetrators of this despicable attack will be revealed. Let our people be sure that (they) will be punished,” said Mr. Erdogan, who faced a terrorist campaign throughout the country in 2015-2016. Some 500 people were killed and more than 2,000 were injured, partly claimed by the Islamic State group.

Social media censorship

When night fell, the terraces of the restaurants in this very touristic area were partially empty. The Supreme Broadcasting Council of Turkey (RTÜK) has banned the broadcasting of images from the scene of the incident in order to “prevent the spread of fear, panic and unrest in the society and to serve (risk) the goals of terrorist organizations”.

“All agencies and organizations in our state are conducting a prompt, thorough and effective investigation into the incident,” he said. In addition, access to social networks has been restricted in Turkey since the attack.

reactions in the world

At the end of the day, the feeling was intense, it was intense in this part of Istanbul, it was already hit hard in the past. The games of the big football clubs of Istanbul, including “Galatasaray”, have been cancelled. “All our thoughts are with the people of Turkey in these difficult days,” said Charles Michel, the chairman of the European Union Council.

Commemorating the 130 people who died in the November 13, 2015 attacks, French President Emmanuel Macron assured: “To the Turks: we share your pain. We are with you in the fight against terrorism.”

Saudi Arabia expressed its strongest condemnation of the terrorist attack in the center of Istanbul.

In Greece, where Ankara’s relations are strained, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs “condemned terrorism unequivocally and expressed sincere condolences to the government and people of Turkey.”

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