According to Türkiye’s Vice President Fuat Oktay, an explosion on Istanbul’s famous Istiklal Street has left at least six people dead and 81 injured.
The explosion happened on Sunday at about 4:20 p.m. local time (1320 gmt) in Istanbul’s Beyoglu area.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the explosion could have been a terrorist attack based on preliminary information from Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya.
“Türkiye will not bow down to terrorism. We will identify all those responsible for the attack,” Erdogan said.
“Our nation should be sure that the perpetrators of the incident on Istiklal Street will be punished as they deserve,” he added.
Earlier, Yerlikaya said on Twitter that the wounded are currently being treated. “We wish God’s mercy on those who lost their lives and a speedy recovery to the injured. The developments will be shared with the public,” Yerlikaya said.
Ambulances, fire vehicles, and police were visible on camera at the site. Security precautions were taken by police units in the area of the incident.
Users on social media said that the avenue was closed and that stores had closed.
An investigation into the incident was started by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. There were appointed five public prosecutors.
The incident is being thoroughly investigated by all state institutions and organizations, according to Fahrettin Altun, director of communications.
The Istanbul Criminal Court of Peace further ruled that all visual and audio news reports as well as social networking sites related to the incident must cease broadcasting.
We encourage media outlets to act responsibly, avoid from relying on false information obtained through social media, and use the comments of pertinent governmental authorities as a basis, Altun continued.
Reuters footage showed people attending to victims after the blast, and later investigators in white outfits collecting material from the scene, where pieces of a concrete planter were scattered on the avenue.
“When I heard the explosion, I was petrified, people froze, looking at each other. Then people started running away. What else can you do,” said Mehmet Akus, 45, a worker in a restaurant on Istiklal.
“My relatives called me, they know I work on Istiklal. I reassured them,” he told Reuters.
A helicopter hovered above the incident, while Taksim Square, nearby, had a lot of ambulances stationed there. According to the Turkish Red Crescent, hospitals in the area are receiving blood.
If true, it would be Istanbul’s first significant bomb explosion in a number of years.
In December 2016, two bombs outside a soccer stadium in Istanbul killed 38 people and injured 155 more. The militant Kurdistan Workers Party claimed responsibility for the attack (PKK).
Grievances for the victims and condemnations of the act came from a number of nations, including Greece, Egypt, the Ukraine, and Azerbaijan.
Following the “horrific news,” Charles Michel, president of the European Council, posted on Twitter that he had expressed condolences to the victims.
Pakistan condoles with Turkey
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif condoled with the people of Turkey on behalf of the Pakistani government on the loss of lives.
“I have learnt with deep anguish about the explosion at popular Istiklal avenue in the heart of Istanbul. Govt and people of Pakistan express deepest condolences to the brotherly people of Turkiye at the loss of precious lives and send prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured,” tweeted PM Shehbaz.
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari also expressed his sadness at the loss of lie in the explosion.
“We stand in complete solidarity with our Turkish brethren in this hour of grief and offer our sincerest condolences to the bereaved families & brotherly people of Turkiye,” tweeted the foreign minister.