The suspect in the Istanbul Istiklal Street bombing attack is of Syrian origin, the Security Directorate announced, adding that “she received instructions from the Syrian headquarters of the PKK/PYD/YPG terrorist organization.”
On November 13, an explosion occurred around 16.20 (local time) in central Istanbul’s touristic Istiklal Street near Taksim Square, killing six people and injuring 81 others.
The first official statements indicated a suspicion of a terror act. At the early hours of November 14, security authorities announced that a woman was detained on suspicion of carrying out the bombing attack following investigations.
“During the interrogation, the suspect said that she took the order for the attack from the PKK/PYD/YPG terrorist organisation in Kobane, Syria, and carried out the bombing action at around 16:20 on Sunday, November 13,” the police statement published on November 14 read, naming the perpetrator as a Syrian national Ahlam Albashir.
The outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) denied responsibility for the attack in a statement published via Fırat News Agency on November 14.
Turkey regards Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing People’s Protection Units (YPG) as the Syrian wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The US support to PYD in Syria is one of the major contested subject between the US and Turkey.
Soylu: We do not accept America’s condolences
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, making a statement about the investigation on November 14, targeted the United States for having responsibility for the attack.
“Whoever feeds the PYD is the perpetrator,” he said upon the question of the press members.
“We know the message given to us. We do not accept the US’s condolences. We refuse. We cannot ally with the mentality that sends money from their own senates to this understanding,” he said.
“We can no longer endure this treachery. Operations continue. The terrorists were caught. Had they not been caught, they would have fled to Greece. Whoever feeds the PYD is the perpetrator. There’s no point in discussing pawns too much. God help our nation. We will send a very strong message in response to this message we receive,” he said.
Security Directorate: The bomber is of Syrian origin
In a written statement released on November 14, the General Directorate of Security stated that 46 people were caught and detained in connection with the incident, including the suspected perpetrator.
The police stated that the person who carried out the incident was a woman named Ahlam Albashir, who is a Syrian national.
“During the interrogation, the suspect said that she took the order for the attack from the PKK/PYD/YPG terrorist organisation in Kobane, Syria, and carried out the bombing action at around 16:20 on Sunday, November 13,” the statement read.
The statement added that in the interrogation, the suspect “declared that she was trained as a special intelligence officer by the PKK, PYD, and YPG terrorist organisation and that she entered our country illegally through Afrin to take action.”
Police operations at 21 different addresses
The police announced that the security forces examined the CCTV footage from 1200 security cameras related to the bombing. A woman was seen as sitting on a bench for a while. The blast occured moments after she walks away as a bag explodes.
According to the police statement, after the preliminary investigations, it was detected that the suspect left the scene by taxi and went to the Esenler district. Thereupon, an operation was organised at 21 addresses that were found to be in contact with the suspect, and 46 people were caught and detained.
In the interrogations of the detainees, it was determined that the person who planted the bomb went to an address in Küçükçekmece district, the police stated.
Ahlam Albashir, a Syrian national, was detained in the operation carried out at this address at 2:50 a.m. local time on November 14.
After the investigations, the General Directorate of Security announced that the explosive was TNT.
The identities of those who lost their lives were revealed
Süleyman Soylu announced the names of the six people who lost their lives in the explosion in Istanbul at night.
Before Soylu, the first statement came from the Minister of Family and Social Services, Derya Yanık. In a statement on her social media account on November 13, Yanık stated that a ministry employee and his 9-year-old daughter died in the explosion.
Yanık said, “We lost our colleague Yusuf Meydan and his daughter Ecrin. My condolences to his family, relatives, and colleagues.”
Süleyman Soylu announced the names of the victims of the attack as follows:
Arzu Özsoy, who was born in 1984 in Istanbul and her daughter Yağmur Uçar, who was born in Ereğli in 2007,
Yusuf Meydan, who was born in Palu in 1988, and his daughter Ecrin Meydan, who was born in 2013 in Seyhan
Mukaddes Elif Topkara, who was born in Rize in 1995, and her husband Adem Topkara, who was born in Gümüşhane in 1982.
Ban on news coverage
The Turkish Radio and TV Authority (RTÜK) imposed a ban on detailed stories about the explosion other than official statements.
The Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) stated that it has reduced internet services for social media platforms across the country “[to stop the spread of] terrorist content and the images that violate the press ethics after the explosion in Taksim.”
The social media restrictions were lifted.