Sunday afternoon blast: Six killed in alleged attack Investigators have more insight into the crime.
After six people were killed and a suspect was arrested on Istanbul’s Istiklal shopping street, police released more details. The alleged killer has admitted to being Syrian and to the Syrian Kurdish militia YPG, police said Monday. Accordingly, he announced that he had received his “order” from the YPG. Turkey equates the YPG with the outlawed Kurdish Workers’ Party, the PKK.
The PKK is on terrorist lists in Turkey, Europe and the United States. The Kurdish militia YPG, on the other hand, is not viewed by the United States as a terrorist organization, but as a partner in the Syrian civil war in the fight against the terrorist militia Islamic State (IS).
The vice president spoke of a “terrorist attack.”
According to the police, the killer also admitted to illegally entering Turkey through Syria. 46 people have been arrested in connection with yesterday’s attack. Interior Minister Suleiman Soylu earlier announced the arrest of 22 people, including the main suspect.
Six people were killed and more than 80 injured in the attack on a busy shopping street on Sunday. The Turkish government earlier said a woman was suspected of planting a bomb on the promenade, which is also popular with tourists. Vice President Fuat Okte described the attack as a ‘terrorist attack’.
Bearbock: “Horrible Picture”
Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Bierbock, among others, expressed her sympathies. “Horrible pictures from Istanbul,” the Green politician said on Twitter. “My thoughts are with the people who wanted to walk on Istiklal shopping street on Sunday and now are victims of a huge explosion.”
US President Joe Biden’s spokeswoman Karin Jean-Pierre condemned the ‘violence’. He said, we stand by our NATO ally Turkey in the fight against terrorism.
Istiklal shopping street is a tourist center in the heart of the European part of the Turkish metropolis, which is often crowded even on Sundays. It was initially unclear whether the dead were Germans or members of other countries.
Broadcasting authorities impose news blackouts
Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu spoke strongly to the US over the Istanbul attack. Soylu repeated his accusations that Washington supports “terrorist organizations” in northern Syria and declared on Monday: “We do not accept the condolences of the American ambassador, we reject them.” Like other missions abroad, US consulates and embassies strongly condemned the attack that killed six people and offered condolences to the victims.
Most reporting of the attack in the Turkish media has stopped. The Rtük Broadcasting Authority has banned topical news on the media. In the afternoon, the letter said that the news of the explosion should be avoided so as not to create fear and panic among the people. The Authority for Information Technology and Communications (BTK) has reportedly reduced the bandwidth for social media platforms in the evening. For users, this means that pages are significantly slower or only accessible via VPN.
The PKK attacked repeatedly
Turkey has experienced repeated attacks in the past, including in the heart of Istanbul. In 2016, for example, a suicide bomber blew himself up in Istiklal, killing four and injuring 39. According to the Turkish government, the killer had links to the Islamic State (IS) terrorist militia. The party itself did not admit to the crime at the time.
The outlawed Kurdish Workers’ Party, the PKK, has also carried out repeated attacks in Turkey. The PKK is on terrorist lists in Turkey, Europe and the United States, and has bases in southeastern Turkey and northern Iraq. Their headquarters are in the Qandil Mountains of northern Iraq. Ankara regularly takes action against the PKK and has maintained military posts in northern Iraq since 2016.
The conflict, which has been going on since 1984, has claimed tens of thousands of lives so far. A ceasefire failed in the summer of 2015.