The Besiktas Vodafone Arena (Istanbul) explosions, one large blast followed by a smaller one, occurred about 11 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET) after a heavily attended soccer game.
According to Soylu, a remote control detonated a car bomb for the first explosion. Shortly afterward, a suicide bomber caused a second explosion at Macka Park. The two locations are less than a mile apart.
No group has claimed responsibility for the twin bombings, but ISIS and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) both have staged attacks in Turkey over the past year.
Thirteen people have have been arrested in connection with the blasts, Soylu said.
“The evidence so far points to the PKK. The ministry has some of the information on framework about how it was planned and organized, but for the sake of the investigation please forgive that I won’t share any details,” Soylu said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, an ally to the United States in the fight against ISIS, spoke at a news conference after visiting a hospital to meet with those injured during the attacks.
“We have 38 martyrs and 155 injuries. The most important topic is on how we will stand against terrorist attacks, and I want the people to know that we will fight this until it ends,” Erdogan said.
“We will not let them discourage us and make us afraid of them. This country is its people. If you don’t have respect and care for its people then we can not let this get away.”
The Turkish prime minister’s office said in a statement, a day of national mourning has been declared on Sunday, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.
In an address on Saturday, Erdogan said, “It does not matter what is the name and the method of the terror organization who conducted the terror attack. Whenever Turkey takes a positive step towards the future the answer comes as blood savagery and chaos.”
During his statement, he called out ISIS, PKK and a movement affiliated with US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen for targeting Turkey. Erdogan has accused Gulen’s movement of being involved in the failed coup.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also condemned Saturday’s “horrific acts of terror” in Istanbul. “My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones in the bomb attacks, with those wounded and with the people of Turkey. We stand united in solidarity with our ally Turkey. We remain determined to fight terrorism in all its forms,” he said.
UEFA, European soccer’s governing body, said on its verified Twitter account: “UEFA would like to express its deepest condolences to the families of all the victims of tonight’s bombing in Istanbul. We strongly condemn this horrible act and send our support to the Turkish Football Federation, Besiktas and Bursaspor football clubs.”
Photo by neoprolog