Erdoğan condemns a “dirty attack” which killed six people in Istanbul

An ambulance leaves the blast site after an explosion on İstiklal Avenue on Nov. 13 in Istanbul, Turkey. Photo: Burak Kara/Getty Images

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan condemned what he called a “treacherous” bomb attack that officials say killed at least six people and injured more than 50 others along a popular Istanbul pedestrian street on Sunday.

The big picture: It wasn’t clear who was behind the explosion on the packed İstiklal Avenue, but it “smells like terrorism,” Erdoğan said without offering details.

  • “It would be wrong to say this is undoubtedly a terrorist attack but the initial developments and initial intelligence from my governor is that it smells like terrorism,” Erdoğan said at a press conference ahead of his departure for the G20 Summit in Indonesia.
  • No groups or individuals have claimed responsibility.
  • “Our people can rest assured that the culprits behind the attack will be punished as they deserve,” Erdoğan added.

State of play: İstiklal Avenue, a popular street lined with shops and restaurants, was packed with locals and tourists when Sunday’s explosion rocked the area, Reuters reports.

  • Witnesses told Reuters that the blast sent people running as flames erupted after the explosion. “When I heard the explosion, I was petrified, people froze, looking at each other. Then people started running away. What else can you do,” Mehmet Akus, a 45-year-old restaurant worker, told the news agency.
  • Al Jazeera reported there had been no major warnings of a possible attack in the area, which typically has high security measures in place.
  • Turkey was hit by a string of deadly attacks by ISIS and outlawed Kurdish separatist groups between 2015 and 2017.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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