Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday called the explosion that left six dead and 58 injured in Istanbul a “vile attack”, according to a latest report by authorities.
“The perpetrators of this vile attack will be unmasked”, said the President of Turkey, appealing to the people of that country to “be assured that the perpetrators will be punished”.
According to Agence France-Presse (AFP), Erdogan was speaking on state television two hours after the explosion that took place on Istanbul’s Istiklal Avenue.
According to the Associated Press (AP), before leaving for the G20 summit in Indonesia, the Turkish President also said that the explosion was caused by a “treacherous” bomb attack.
Four people died at the scene and two in hospital, Erdogan said. The state news agency Anadolu had already reported that five prosecutors had been appointed to investigate the explosion.
The Supreme Council of Radio and Television, the body that oversees the media in Turkey, has imposed a temporary ban on reporting of the blast — a measure that prevents broadcasters from showing videos of the moment of the blast or its aftermath.
The same body had already imposed similar bans in the past, following attacks and accidents.
In images broadcast on social networks, the moment of the explosion can be heard, accompanied by flames and immediately triggering a movement of panic. A large black crater is also visible in these images, as are several bodies on the ground nearby.
Other images showed ambulances, fire engines and police at the scene. Social media users said stores were closed and the avenue closed.
Turkey was hit by a series of deadly attacks between 2015 and 2017 by the Islamic State group and Kurdish groups.
During this period, Itstiqlal Avenue was hit by an attack claimed by the Islamic State group, which killed nearly 500 people and injured more than 2,000.