Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, January 2016
10 People Killed, 15 Injured, Mainly German Tourists, in Istanbul Bombing, No Claim of Responsibility
January 13, 2016
The Islamic State (IS) has become the comfortable bogyman world governments use for blame in any attacks they conduct or receive. This news story shows that the Turkish prime minister quickly accused IS of the bombing in Istanbul before any investigation. In fact most of the previous attacks were conducted by Kurdish and leftist opposition groups.
'Syrian suicide bomber' carried out Istanbul attack
Turkish president says 'Syrian-origin' attacker killed 10 in Sultanahmet blast
A Syrian suicide bomber carried out Tuesday’s attack in Istanbul’s Sultan Ahmet tourist district, Turkey’s president said.
“I condemn the terror incident assessed to be an attack by a Syrian-origin suicide bomber,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
Addressing an ambassadors’ conference in Ankara, Erdogan added: “Unfortunately we have [had] killings in this terror incident. These are Turkish nationals and foreigners. This incident showed one more time that we should be united against terror.”
Ten people were killed and 15 injured in a blast in Sultan Ahmet.
“The main target of the terror organizations operating in this region is Turkey because Turkey has been fighting against all of them with the same determination,” the president said.
Turkey has faced recent attacks from the far-left groups and the Daesh terrorist organization as well as a renewed terror campaign by the PKK in the southeast.
Turkey resolves to not step back from anti-terror fight
'We will continue our fight against terrorism with the same resolve, and will never take a step back,' Turkish PM says post Istanbul attack
The suicide bomb attack in Istanbul Tuesday morning that killed 10 people, including several Germans, will not deter Turkish security forces from pursuing their ongoing counter-terrorism efforts, Turkish premier has said.
In remarks made during a meeting at the Cankaya Palace in the capital Ankara Tuesday afternoon following a deadly explosion that rocked Istanbul's Sultanahmet Square, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said: "We will continue our fight against terrorism with the same resolve, and will never take a step back".
Davutoglu said the suicide bomber was a “foreign national Daesh member”, while the victims in the attack included several foreigners.
Earlier, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told reporters that 11 people, including the bomber were killed and 15 others were injured in the blast. "Two of those injured in the attack are in critical condition while three others had left the hospital," Kurtulmus said.
According to the Turkish premier, a Turkish citizen and several German nationals were among the injured.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel told a press conference in Berlin that the Istanbul blast claimed the lives of "at least eight German tourists, and injured nine others".
Kurtulmus also revealed that the bomber was born in Syria in 1988, and had recently entered Turkey illegally from Syria, adding that the authorities were trying to “determine the identities” of those killed.
Meanwhile at the press conference, Davutoglu called on the world to take a joint stance against all terrorist groups, regardless of any ethnic, religious or sectarian differences.
"I am calling upon all of humanity; we must be in global solidarity. I am inviting all to stand shoulder-to-shoulder against the attacks in Istanbul and Ankara, just as we did after Paris attack," he said. "Let's raise our voices to say out loud that all terrorist organizations and terror [group] members are enemies of humanity," he added.
The premier also called upon Turkish political parties, non-governmental organizations and all stakeholders to make efforts for peace in Turkey and stand against all terrorist organizations, including Daesh and the PKK.
Davutoglu also warned against tarnishing "innocent Syrians" taking refuge in Turkey in the aftermath of the terrorist attack.
"While protecting the innocent, we are determined to pursue our active fight against terrorists," the Turkish premier added.
He strongly condemned the "terrorist attack" and also extended condolences to the countries and families of the victims, whom he called "our foreign friends and guests".
- Erdogan, Davutoglu call Merkel
Later in the evening, Davutoglu’s office said the Turkish premier made a phone call to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and offered his condolences over the German deaths in the attack.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also called Merkel to condole with families of the German victims, according to sources at Turkish presidency.
During the phone conversation, Erdogan highlighted that terrorism had no religion, nationality or identity; he assured Merkel that the wounded would be given the best treatment.
Both leaders also put emphasis on the need for taking a joint stance in the fight against all forms of terrorism and also reiterated their consensus on sustaining the cooperation between the security and intelligence agencies of the two countries.
German chancellor also convened her cabinet for an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday night, and told reporters that she will inform the ministers about her phone calls with Erdogan and Davutoglu.
German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier also said terrorism was a common threat to all in Turkey, Europe and the world, adding that Germany would continue to contribute in the fight against terrorism with its international partners.
“Now we need to quickly uncover details on the perpetrators and the background of this attack,” he said, adding that German officials were in close contact with their Turkish counterparts.
According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, Davutoglu told Merkel in a phone call that an investigation into the incident was being meticulously carried out and “all necessary information will be shared with German officials".
Suicide bomber kills 10 people, mainly German tourists, in Istanbul
Reuters, Tuesday, January 12, 2016 7:08pm EST
A suicide bomber thought to have crossed recently from Syria killed at least 10 people, most of them German tourists, in Istanbul's historic heart on Tuesday, in an attack Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu blamed on Islamic State.
All of those killed in Sultanahmet square, near the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia - major tourist sites in the center of one of the world's most visited cities - were foreigners, Davutoglu said. A senior Turkish official said nine were German, while Peru's foreign ministry said a Peruvian man also died.
Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said the bomber was believed to have recently entered Turkey from Syria but was not on Turkey's watch list of suspected militants. He said earlier that the bomber had been identified from body parts at the scene and was thought to be a Syrian born in 1988.
Davutoglu said he had spoken by phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to offer condolences and vowed Turkey's fight against Islamic State, at home and as part of the U.S.-led coalition, would continue.
"Until we wipe out Daesh, Turkey will continue its fight at home and with coalition forces," he said in comments broadcast live on television, using an Arabic name for Islamic State. He vowed to hunt down and punish those linked to the bomber.
Merkel similarly vowed no respite in the fight against international terrorism, telling a news conference in Berlin: "The terrorists are the enemies of all free people ... of all humanity, be it in Syria, Turkey, France or Germany."
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Islamist, leftist and Kurdish militants, who are battling Ankara in southeast Turkey, have all carried out attacks in the past.
Several bodies lay on the ground in the square, also known as the Hippodrome of Constantinople, in the immediate aftermath of the blast. It was not densely packed at the time of the explosion, according to a police officer working there, but small groups of tourists had been wandering around.
"This incident has once again shown that as a nation we should act as one heart, one body in the fight against terror. Turkey's determined and principled stance in the fight against terrorism will continue to the end," President Tayyip Erdogan told a lunch for Turkish ambassadors in Ankara.
Norway's foreign ministry said one Norwegian man was injured and was being treated in hospital.
The White House condemned the "heinous attack" and pledged solidarity with NATO ally Turkey against terrorism. U.N. Secretary Ban Ki-moon said he hoped those responsible for "this despicable crime" were swiftly brought to justice.
Turkey, a candidate for accession to the European Union, is part of the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State fighters who have seized territory in neighboring Syria and Iraq, some of it directly abutting Turkey.
The dull thud of Tuesday's blast was heard in districts of Istanbul several kilometers away, residents said. Television footage showed a police car which appeared to have been overturned by the force of the blast.
"We heard a loud sound and I looked at the sky to see if it was raining because I thought it was thunder but the sky was clear," said Kuwaiti tourist Farah Zamani, 24, who was shopping at one of the covered bazaars with her father and sister.
Tourist sites including the Hagia Sophia and nearby Basilica Cistern were closed on the governor's orders, officials said.
"They attacked Sultanahmet to grab attention because this is what the world thinks of when it thinks of Turkey," said Kursat Yilmaz, who has operated tours for 25 years from an office by the square.
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