Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said Sunday’s explosion in Istantbul that killed six people and injured 81 others was a terrorist attack.
“A female attacker detonated the bomb, which we consider to be a terrorist act,” Oktay told reporters on Sunday.
Yerlikaya reported that the blast took place on Istiklal Street in the center of Istanbul’s largest square, Beyoglu Square.
“May God be merciful to those who lost their lives and speedy recovery to those who were injured,” Yerlikaya wrote on Twitter.
Among the victims are Yusuf Meydan, a member in Turkey’s Ministry of Family and Social Services, and his daughter Ecrin.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier Sunday that he wasn’t yet sure whether the explosion was terrorism-related.
“This may or may not be terror, but preliminary findings, what my governors told us, indicate there is a smell of terror here,” Erdogan said at a news conference.
CCTV footage is being reviewed by authorities, he said.
“We will identify and punish all those responsible,” the president said.
It is planned that Erdogan and his delegation will attend the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, as scheduled.
An investigation has been launched by Istanbul’s Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, according to the official Anadolu news agency. Eight prosecutors have been assigned, the vice president said.
According to Anadolu, the city’s criminal court has banned all visual and audio coverage of the explosion, as well as postings on social media sites.
Following the blast, local media reported a large number of emergency vehicles. Some people were seen fleeing, and the area was cordoned off by security forces.
Tariq Keblaoui, a journalist on CNN, said he was about 10 meters away from the explosion when it happened.
Tariq said that after the blast, several people were seen lying on the ground.
According to Keblaoui, several people were bleeding from their legs and arms, but the extent of their injuries was not clear.
On Sunday, Istiklal Street, a popular tourist area leading to Taksim Square, was heavily crowded.
Police and health worker teams are responding to the explosion with assistance from Istanbul mayor Ekrem Imamoglu.
We should assist our police and health teams regarding the explosion on Istiklal Street, and avoid postings that may cause panic or fear. We will provide health information,” he tweeted.
International dismay followed the news of the explosion.
“Our thoughts are with those who are responding and the people of Turkey at this very distressing time,” European Council President Charles Michel said.
The NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg tweeted his “deepest condolences” to the Turkish people, adding that NATO “stands in solidarity with our ally.”
The Austrian President Alex Van der Bellen expressed his sympathy for the Turkish people and residents of Istanbul in light of today’s horrible explosion in Istanbul, saying, “I send my deepest condolences to the families of the victims. Wishing everyone a speedy recovery.”
Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani says, “Italy extends its heartfelt condolences to the Turkish government and people. Our crisis unit is monitoring the situation and communicating with our compatriots.”
The Turkish President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted his “deep sadness” over the blast. “I offer my condolences to the families of those who lost their lives, and wish a speedy recovery to those injured,” Zelensky said. “Their pain is our pain.”