Istanbul bomb attack: One arrested, 21 suspects detained; Interior Minister blames Kurdish militants

The person responsible for planting the bomb at Istiklal Avenue, a major local pedestrian pathway as well as a tourist attraction in Istanbul, has been arrested by the police, said Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu on Monday.

Soylu added that the police has also detained 21 more suspects for questioning in the matter. The explosion occurred around 4:13 PM (1313 GMT), leaving six Turkish residents dead. Others present on the bustling street before the attack fled the site, as ambulances and police vans arrived.

The Interior Minister also blamed Kurdish militants from Kobani for the attack on Istanbul. He said, “We have evaluated that the instruction for the attack came from Kobani.” Kobani is a city in northern Syria, where Turkish forces have been carrying out operations against Syrian Kurdish YPG militants in the past years.

PKK, an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party has been internationally listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the United States and other members of the European Union, according to the country’s MFA website. YPG is a wing of the PKK.

The bomb explosion on Sunday left four dead at the scene and two at a hospital, according to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Speaking before his departure to the G-20 summit in Bali, Erdogan called the explosion something that “smells like terrorism”, and said that its perpetrators would be punished.

About 81 people were wounded following the attack. Fifty people have been discharged from hospital, sparking concerns of a string of deadly bombings in Istanbul, similar to the ones carried out by outlawed Kurdish groups between 2015 and 2017.

– with inputs from Reuters

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