An explosion in Istanbul killed at least six people and injured 81 on Sunday, in what the president of Turkey is condemning and calling a terrorist act.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the president of the transcontinental country situated between Europe and Asia, condemned the attacks on Sunday afternoon, wishing the wounded a speedy recovery.
“Relevant units of our state are carrying out works to find out the perpetrators of this heinous act as well as the circles behind it,” he said. “Attempts to make Turkey and the Turkish nation surrender through terror never have and never will succeed. May our people rest assured that all the aspects of this incident will be clarified, and the perpetrators will be punished in the way they deserve.”
The explosion occurred in a popular section of Istanbul where pedestrians can walk on Istiklal Avenue.
Istanbul Gov. Ali Yerlikaya tweeted that the explosion happened at about 4:20 p.m., or 13:20 GMT.
Since the explosion, Turkish officials have reported six people dead and 81 injured.
Several videos of the act appeared on social media including one where an explosion is seen off in a distance before a loud bang sends pedestrians turning and fleeing the scene.
Other videos showed police controlling the scene, the aftermath with bodies strewn on the ground with broken limbs and bloody appendages, and emergency crews rushing to help.
Several world leaders condemned the violent act in public statements.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said on Twitter that she was “Appalled by the explosion in #Istanbul,” adding that her thoughts are with the injured and families and friends of those who lost their lives.”
The White House also weighed in with a similar statement.
“The United States strongly condemns the act of violence that took place today in Istanbul, Turkey,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. “Our thoughts are with those who were injured, and our deepest condolences go to those who lost loved ones. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our NATO ally Turkey in countering terrorism.”
The UK government issued a travel advisory in the area, and the consulate general of the State of Kuwait in Istanbul confirmed that none of their citizens were among the victims injured in the explosion.
The consulate of Kuwait called on the country’s citizens in Istanbul to stay away from gathering places, exercise caution and follow the instructions of security authorities.
Between 2015 and 2017, Turkey was attacked by a string of deadly bombings from the Islamic State group and Kurdish militants seeking independence.
According to the Associated Press, Erdoğan’s anti-terrorism campaign focused on cracking down on militants, Kurdish lawmakers, and activists, is a key rallying point for him as he seeks reelection next year.