Istanbul bombing: 22 people arrested, Turkish authorities point to PKK Kurds
Steph Deschamps / November 14, 2022
The person who planted the bomb on Istiklal Street in Istanbul on Sunday, killing at least six people on the shopping street, has been arrested, Interior Minister Soumeylan Soylu told the official Anadolu Agency.
Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu blamed the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) for the attack that killed at least six people on Sunday in Istanbul's Istiklal shopping street, and announced the arrest of some 20 suspects, including one who allegedly planted the bomb.
"The person who planted the bomb has been arrested (...) According to our findings, the PKK terrorist organization is responsible" for the attack, Soylu said in an overnight statement, relayed by the official Anadolu Agency and local TV stations.
Another 21 suspects have also been arrested, he added.
The minister also accused the Kurdish forces that control most of northeastern Syria, which Ankara considers terrorists, of being behind the attack.
"We believe that the order for the attack was given from Kobane," he added.
A city that has remained famous for the 2015 battle that enabled Kurdish forces to push back the Islamic State group, Kobane is controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), of which the PKK-allied People's Protection Units (YPG) are a major component.
The attack, which was not claimed, left six people dead and 81 injured, half of whom had to be hospitalized. The victims, all Turkish citizens, included a 9-year-old girl and a 15-year-old girl.
The attack occurred in the middle of the afternoon in the ultra-popular pedestrian street of Istiklal on Sunday, which is frequented by Stamboulians and tourists.
Closed immediately after the attack, access to the street was allowed again Monday morning, Turkish media reported.
Mr. Soylu did not specify the conditions under which the suspected "person" was arrested, nor whether it was a "woman" as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and then his vice-president Fuat Oktay had stated on Sunday evening.
The PKK, considered a terrorist organization by Ankara but also by its Western allies including the United States and the European Union, has been in armed struggle against the Turkish government since the mid-1980s. It has often been blamed in the past for bloody attacks on Turkish soil.
President Recep Tayip Erdogan and his vice-president, Fuat Oktay, had previously said that a "woman" was responsible for the attack, which Soylu did not immediately clarify on Monday morning.