The Turkish authorities announced Monday that the perpetrator of the Istanbul attack was a young Syrian woman, who was arrested and accused of placing the bomb whose explosion on Sunday killed six people, and admitted the facts. The Turkish Interior Minister, Suleyman Soylu, announced earlier on Monday the arrest of a person who left a bomb that caused the explosion of Istanbul, accusing the Kurdistan Workers Party of being behind him. On the other hand, the party denied its involvement in the bombing and said that it did not target civilians.
The Turkish police said on Monday that the perpetrator of the Istanbul bombing was a young Syrian woman, who admitted that she acted on the orders of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), and received instructions in Kobani, northeastern Syria.
She was arrested with a number of suspects in an apartment in Kucukcekmece on the outskirts of Istanbul. Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu noted that the accused was preparing to “flee to Greece.”
Soylu, who visited the site of the bombing again on Monday, added that 46 people have been arrested so far, and indicated that “operations are continuing” to arrest other suspects. “They wanted to send a message to us, we received it and we will respond to it in the strongest possible way,” he added.
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In contrast, the PKK, in a statement on its website, denied its involvement and said it was not targeting civilians.
In turn, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, whose main faction is the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), denied any connection to the Istanbul bombing, according to what their commander-in-chief Mazloum Abdi announced.
“We confirm that our forces have nothing to do with the Istanbul bombing, and we reject the allegations accusing our forces of this,” Abdi wrote in a tweet, adding, “We express our sincere condolences to the families of the missing and the Turkish people, and we wish a speedy recovery for the wounded.”
On Monday, the Turkish Interior Minister said that the police had arrested 22 suspects, including the person who planted the bomb. He added that the order to attack Istiklal Street in Istanbul was issued in the northern Syrian city of Kobani, where Turkish forces have carried out operations against the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units in recent years.
The Turkish Interior Minister said, “The person who carried out the operation left the bomb and was arrested… About 21 other people have already been arrested.” Soylu accused the Kurdistan Workers’ Party of being behind the bombing.
On Sunday afternoon, a powerful explosion rocked the busy Istiklal Street in central Istanbul, killing 6 people and wounding at least 81 others.
Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay announced on Sunday evening that a woman carried out the attack, which left six dead and 81 wounded, two of them seriously, according to the latest toll. Oktay told reporters: “We consider it a terrorist attack that resulted from an attacker, who may be a woman, detonating a bomb, according to preliminary information.”
After the incident, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan considered on television that the Istanbul explosion was a “vile attack,” noting that it left “six dead and 53 wounded,” according to the latest toll. “The identity of the perpetrators of this despicable attack will be revealed,” he said, two hours after the explosion, which occurred in the commercial Istiklal Street.
And rumors spread immediately after the explosion of a suicide attack without any confirmation or evidence. Erdogan added: “Attempts to besiege Turkey and the Turkish nation with terrorism will not be able to achieve their goal, neither today nor tomorrow.”
A Reuters reporter saw a helicopter circling in the sky and several ambulances in nearby Taksim Square.
The explosion occurred shortly after 16:00 (13:00 GMT), at a time when the crowd of pedestrians was dense on Istiklal Street, according to the Turkish TV channel, which indicated that at least “five to ten wounded”. Footage published by the channel showed the deployment of relief teams and police in the place that was evacuated from passersby.
The official TRT news channel and other media showed videos of ambulances and policemen heading to the site of the explosion on the famous Istiklal Street in Istanbul’s Beyoglu district.
Hussein Asad, France 24’s correspondent in Turkey, also said that local media reported that the explosion might have been caused by a “terrorist attack.” He added: “A large, unknown explosion in Istiklal Street in Istanbul, and ambulances and security services are rushing to the place.”
The nearby Qasim Pasha police station said that all of its teams rushed to the scene of the explosion, without giving further details.
And local media reported that investigators are currently at the site of the accident. The Turkish Red Crescent stated that bags of blood were being transported to hospitals near the site of the accident.
The Supreme Council of Radio and Television Broadcasting in Turkey imposed a ban on covering the explosion about an hour after it occurred.
Al-Istiklal Street was previously targeted in a series of bloody terrorist attacks in 2015 and 2016, which were claimed by the extremist “Islamic State”.
On Sunday, many countries and organizations condemned the bombing and offered their condolences to Turkey.
This attack sparked several condemnations from Pakistan to India, Italy to Germany, where a large Turkish community resides, as well as from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Jordan.
The United States also condemned the bombing, and White House spokeswoman Karen Jean-Pierre said, “We stand against terrorism side by side with Turkey, our NATO ally.”
“The pain of the friendly Turkish people is our pain,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a tweet in Turkish.
French President Emmanuel Macron addressed the Turks, saying, “We share your pain. We stand with you in the fight against terrorism.”
“All our thoughts are with the people of Turkey in these difficult moments,” European Council President Charles Michel said, while NATO Secretary General expressed “solidarity with our ally.” The same position was issued by Sweden, a candidate for NATO membership.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog tweeted in Turkish and English, “After I was shocked by the news of the despicable bombing in Istanbul, which targeted innocent civilians, the whole world must stand firmly and united against terrorism.”
Athens expressed its “heartfelt condolences to the Turkish government and people,” despite its tense relations with Ankara.
Refused the condolences of the United States
On Monday, Turkey rejected US condolences over the killing of six people in a bomb attack in Istanbul, as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan often accuses Washington of supplying weapons to Kurdish fighters in northern Syria whom Ankara considers “terrorists.” Interior Minister Suleiman Soylu said in televised statements, “We do not accept the message of condolence from the American embassy. We reject it.”