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Turkey in shock after the Istanbul bombing in the Istiklal Caddesi shopping street. The person who allegedly planted the bomb in the center of the metropolis on the Bosphorus on Sunday November 13, killing 6 people, has been arrested. Interior Minister Soumeylan Soylu confirms this.

At some point, it turned out to be a suicide attack. But Turkey is now talking about a non-suicide attack. And a woman under arrest. President Recep Tayip Erdogan himself, as well as his vice-president, Fuat Oktay, had previously indicated that a “woman” was responsible for the explosion which left 6 dead and at least 81 injured. Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu blamed the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu lays flowers at the area of ​​the November 13 attack in Istanbul. Photo Ansa / Epa Erdem Sahin

“According to the results of our investigations, the PKK terrorist organization is responsible for this,” Soylu said. The head of the Interior then announced the arrest of a suspicious person, a woman, in fact, accused of having planted the bomb. The 6 people who lost their lives are all Turkish citizens. Among the victims, there are also couples of parents and children. Of 81 injured, doctors discharged 50 from hospitals. 31 others are hospitalized and two are serious.

Turkey accuses the Kurds

For Ankara, the Kurdish armed group PKK and the Ypg, a Kurdish-Syrian armed group, ordered the attack. In recent years, the YPG has received support from the United States and other Western countries to fight Isis, the self-proclaimed Islamic State. However, much remains to be clarified. From the dynamics of facts. On Sunday, November 13, around 4:20 p.m. local time (2:20 p.m. in Italy), the woman then arrested allegedly placed a bag loaded with explosives on the ground. “There are two possibilities,” Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said. “Either the bag had a mechanism inside to explode on its own, or someone blew it up with a remote control: the investigation follows both hypotheses”.

The point where the bomb is said to have exploded, in a still image taken from a video. Photo Twitter @solcugazete

“This woman sat on a bench for 40 minutes and then got up: the explosion happened a minute or two later,” Bozdag said, referring to the person the police also arrested. The authorities banned the Turkish media, “for security reasons”, from disseminating information relating to the attack. The use of social media, and the Internet in general, is still limited or slowed down. However, the attack hit a pedestrian thoroughfare in Istanbul, crowded almost around the clock with tourists and passers-by. There are not only the most fashionable shops but also various consulates, including Russian, Dutch and Swedish. The consulates of Italy and Great Britain are also nearby.

The attacks of recent years

So far, there have been no claims of the Istanbul bombing. After years of relative calm, the November 13 massacre recalls the terrorist season that hit Turkey, killing hundreds, between 2015 and 2016. During this time, there was also a coup attempt, then foiled, to depose Erdogan. Even then, Istiklal Caddesi – the same site as the November 13 attack – was the scene of one of the massacres.

The Istiklal Caddesi in the central European part of Istanbul, Turkey, where the attack took place. Photo Ansa / Epa Erdem Sahin

Attacks claimed or attributed to Isis and groups close to the PKK Kurds continued until late 2016. On December 31 of that year, an assailant, later identified as a member of ISIS, shot in the crowd at a New Year’s Eve party at a local. on the Bosphorus killing 38 people. Since then, there have been no more attacks in Turkey. Over the years, Ankara has imprisoned hundreds of ISIS operatives inside the country and continues to do so. As for the Kurds, however, in recent months Turkey has blocked Sweden and Finland from joining NATO by accusing those countries of harboring “Kurdish terrorists”.

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