Istanbul’s Istiklal Avenue reopened after deadly explosion that killed 6 & injured 81


Istanbul’s Istiklal Avenue was reopened to pedestrian traffic after Sunday’s deadly explosion that killed six people and injured 81 others.

Benches were removed on the street which is now being patrolled by police.

The suspect who left the bomb on the crowded street frequented by shoppers and tourists has been arrested, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Monday.

“Our assessment is that the order for the deadly terror attack came from Ayn al-Arab in northern Syria, where the PKK/YPG has its Syrian headquarters,” he added.

According to Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya, the blast occurred around 4.20 pm local time (1320GMT), with police and emergency officials cordoning off the scene.

“It smells like terrorism,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a news conference before leaving for a G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia.

Later, visiting the blast site, Vice President Fuat Oktay said it was considered a terrorist attack, adding that a female attacker detonated the bomb that caused the blast.

World leaders have condemned the attack and sent condolences to Turkey.

“I have learned with deep anguish about the explosion at Istiklal Avenue in the heart of Istanbul,” Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Twitter.

“(The) government and the people of Pakistan express deepest condolences to the brotherly people of Turkey at the loss of precious lives and send prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured,” he added.

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev said in a statement that Baku is “deeply shocked” by the news, adding: “I extend my deep condolences to you, families and loved ones of those who were killed, and the brotherly people of Turkey, and wish the injured recovery.”

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson was “deeply shocked by the news of today’s explosion in the heart of Istanbul.”

“Our thoughts are with the victims, and with all those who have lost their loved ones. We stand with Turkey,” he said on Twitter.

For his part, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweeted that he is “deeply saddened” by the news and extended condolences to the victims and wished a speedy recovery to the injured.

“The pain of the friendly Turkish people is our pain,” Zelenskyy added.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said the incident not only the residents of Istanbul, shook but the entire world.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the Turkish people were struck in their heart, Istanbul.

“On this day so symbolic for our nation, while we think of the victims who fell on November 13, 2015, the Turkish people are struck by an attack in their heart, Istanbul. To the Turks: we share your pain. We stand with you in the fight against terrorism,” Macron tweeted.

Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani and Prime Minister Albin Kurti also expressed heartfelt condolences.

Messages of condolence were also sent by European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, European Council President Charles Michel, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

“Shocked and saddened by the news of the explosion in Istanbul, Turkey this afternoon which resulted in numerous casualties,” said North Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov. “My deepest condolences to victims’ families and their loved ones. Sincere wishes for a speedy recovery for the injured.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said: “Shocking images from Istanbul. My thoughts and deepest condolences to all those affected & to the Turkish people. #NATO stands in solidarity with our Ally Turkey.”

Meanwhile, the US also condemned the attack.

“The United States strongly condemns the act of violence that took place today in Istanbul, Turkey,” said a statement by White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

“Our thoughts are with those who were injured and our deepest condolences go to those who lost loved ones. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our NATO Ally Turkey in countering terrorism,” it added.

The foreign ministries of Pakistan, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Germany, India, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Greece also expressed condolences.

The Gulf Cooperation Council and the President of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Republika Srpska entity, Milorad Dodik, also condemned the attack.

Senegal’s President and African Union chairperson Macky Sall “strongly” condemned the attack and extended his heartfelt condolences to President Erdogan and the Turkish people.

Burundi’s President Evariste Ndayishimiye also condemned what he referred to as a “horrific terrorist attack.”

“I wish to convey my heartfelt condolences to President Erdogan and the Turkish people at this tragic moment. We must reignite our common efforts in the fight against terrorism,” said Ndayishimiye.

Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud while condemning the attack said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, the Turkish people and government. Turkey is a valuable ally in Somalia’s security and development journey.”

The Congolese president’s office said that President Felix Tshisekedi learned with dismay of the deadly attack and reiterated his commitment in the fight against terrorism alongside Turkey.

Tshisekedi expressed his support to President Erdogan, the Turkish people and the relatives of the victims.