Istanbul, tribute to victims of the attack

Terrorist author of the attack on İstiklal Avenue in Istanbul captured

The terrorist, a member of the PKK/YPG and who intended to flee to Greece, entered Turkey from Syria and had been ordered to die.

The terrorist suspected of being the author of the attack that cost the lives of 6 people yesterday in the central İstiklal Avenue in Istanbul, also leaving 81 injured, has been captured by the Turkish police, as confirmed on Monday by the Turkish Interior Minister, Süleyman Soylu , who visited the site of the explosion.

More than twenty people suspected of having links to the author of the attack were also arrested, reported the minister, who pointed out that the evidence collected points to the attack being the work of the PKK/YPG terrorist group, present in both Turkey and Syria. “We have determined that the instructions to carry out the attack came from Kobani (Ayn al-Arab), where the PKK/YPG has its bases in Syria,” Soylu told reporters, adding that the terrorist “entered Turkey from Afrin, in Northern Syria.

The woman author of the attack, in which TNT was used to cause the explosion, has been identified as Ahlam Albashir, a Syrian citizen who “received orders to die to avoid evidence linking her to the PKK/YPG,” reported the minister, who also added that when she was arrested by Turkish security forces, the terrorist intended to flee to neighbouring Greece.

Images broadcast by Turkish television channels showed Turkish special forces breaking into a house where the alleged perpetrator of the attack was hiding, where they also found weapons and abundant jewelry and cash. To identify her, police examined some 1,200 security cameras; it is believed that after leaving the bomb on İstiklal Avenue, the woman left the scene by taxi and headed to the Esenler district of Istanbul.

The operation for her arrest included the registration of 21 locations with which the terrorist had contact, as determined by the police investigation. The Turkish Minister of Justice, Bekir Bozdağ, reported for his part that a total of 8 State prosecutors and two assistants have been assigned to the investigation into the attack in Istanbul: “All aspects related to the attack are being investigated” he assured.

Tribute to the victims

İstiklal Avenue, the site of the attack, was reopened today at 6:00 a.m. once the police completed the examination of the area and determined that it was safe, although the municipal authorities removed part of the street furniture from the avenue, including the banks, where according to the security cameras the terrorist was waiting to commit the attack.

Throughout the morning, many people have gone to the place where the explosion occurred, currently cordoned off, to leave red carnations as a gesture of tribute to the victims. Many authorities have also wanted to visit the place, including the mayor of the Beyoğlu district, where İstiklal Avenue – one of the busiest and most touristic in the city, connecting Galata with the iconic Taksim Square – is located.

Criticism of the United States after the attack

Although many countries have issued messages of solidarity and condemnation for the attack, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced that Turkey will not accept the condolences conveyed by the United States government, a country that Ankara has accused in recent years of supporting, arming and financing the YPG, a Syrian affiliate of the PKK, an organization that – paradoxically – the US recognizes as a terrorist group, and which is responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 people.

Criticism has also came after the attack due to the coverage that the US newspaper New York Times made of the event, and that many users on social media described as “inhumane”, “cold” and “despicable” after the newspaper published a message on Twitter focusing attention on the fact that many tourists visit the area where the attack took place on Sunday, and not on the victims of the attack.

Imagine a newspaper in Turkey talking about the impact on the US tourism industry when the twin towers were attacked… You are despicable!” wrote one Twitter user. “Putting the spotlight on tourism (implicitly saying the country is not safe) instead of the innocents dead and injured, is really horrible and cold reporting,” wrote another.

In fact, on its online front page today, the New York Times does not even include the news of the early capture of the terrorist who carried out the attack on İstiklal Avenue in Istanbul. The popular American daily has already been the object of criticism in the past by the authorities and especially by public opinion in Turkey, mainly for its partial and “kind” coverage of the YPG/PKK, the terrorist group that Ankara precisely accuses of being behind the heinous terrorist attack perpetrated yesterday in the Turkish metropolis.