Turkey blames IS for Istanbul airport carnage that killed 41

Published: June 29, 2016
 A view of the entrance of the Ataturk international airport after two suicide bombers opened fire before blowing themselves up at the entrance, in Istanbul, Turkey  June 28, 2016. PHOTO: 140journo/REUTERS

A view of the entrance of the Ataturk international airport after two suicide bombers opened fire before blowing themselves up at the entrance, in Istanbul, Turkey June 28, 2016. PHOTO: 140journo/REUTERS

ISTANBUL: Turkey pointed the finger of blame at Islamic State extremists Wednesday after suicide bombers armed with automatic rifles attacked Istanbul’s main international airport, killing 41 people, including foreigners.

Witnesses described scenes of terror and panic on Tuesday evening as the attackers began shooting indiscriminately and then blew themselves up at the entrance to Ataturk airport, one of Europe’s busiest hubs.

The assault, at the start of Turkey’s crucial summer tourist season, was the latest in a wave of attacks in Istanbul and the capital Ankara over the past year, putting the country on high alert.

Five wounded in bomb attack on police in Turkey’s southeast

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said “the evidence points to Daesh”, using another name for the group.

Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim (R) speaks to the press next to the Interior Miinister Efkan Ala at the Ataturk airport in Istanbul, Turkey, following a multiple suicide bombing, June 29, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

The city’s governor said 41 people were killed, including 13 foreigners, and 239 wounded.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for an international “joint fight” against terror, as Western allies including the United States condemned the “heinous” attack.

Yildirim said the three suicide bombers had arrived at the airport in a taxi and opened fire at the entrance to the international terminal before detonating their explosives.

A broken window is seen at Turkey’s largest airport, Istanbul Ataturk, Turkey, following yesterday’s blasts June 29, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

Security camera footage widely circulated on social media appeared to capture two of the blasts. In one clip a huge ball of flame erupts at an entrance to the terminal building, scattering terrified passengers.

Another video shows a black-clad attacker running inside the building before collapsing to the ground — apparently felled by a police bullet – and blowing himself up.

Ambulance cars arrive at Turkey’s largest airport, Istanbul Ataturk, Turkey, following a blast June 28, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

The attack came just as Turkey, which had found itself increasingly friendless on the international stage, begins rebuilding relations with Israel and Russia.

It follows coordinated IS suicide bombings at Brussels airport and a city metro station in March that left 32 people dead.

Istanbul targeted: Bomb attack on police kills 11 in Turkey

An AFP photographer saw bodies covered with sheets at the terminal, where bullet holes peppered the windows and shattered glass was strewn on the floor, along with abandoned luggage.

Otfah Mohamed Abdullah was checking her luggage in when she saw one of the attackers pull out a hidden gun.

“He’s shooting up, two times, and he’s beginning to shoot people like that, like he was walking like a prophet,” she told AFPTV.

“Everybody started running in different directions when the shooting started. I hid under the counter where I was standing and a couple of the ground staff did the same,” South African university administrator Judy Favish told eNCA television in her home country.

Favish said she and other travellers were ushered to the basement before emerging about two hours later.

“We walked through the airport and saw debris and blood. It was just chaos. It was horrible.”

Analyst Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkish Research Programme at The Washington Institute, described it as a “symbolic attack against the heart of Turkey”.

“If this Islamic State is indeed behind this attack, this would be a declaration of war. Turkey’s vengeance will come down like rain from hell on the Islamic State.”

The attack prompted the suspension of all flights at the airport, but operations were resuming on Wednesday with some delays.

There was chaos at the nearest hospital in Istanbul’s Bakirkoy district, which was inundated with relatives desperate for news of loved ones.

Brussels airport, the scene of suicide bombings just months ago, tweeted condolences, saying: “Our thoughts are with the victims of the attacks at @istanbulairport.”.

The US and French consulates warned people to stay away from the area.

Erdogan met his prime minister and military chief after news of the carnage broke.

“We urge the world, especially Western countries, to take a firm stand against terrorism,” Erdogan said in a statement.

“Despite paying a heavy price, Turkey has the power, determination and capacity to continue the fight against terrorism until the end.”

A weapon is seen on the floor at Ataturk airport after suicide bombers opened fire before blowing themselves up at the entrance, in Istanbul, Turkey June 28, 2016. PHOTO: 140journo/Reuters

Istanbul, a major tourist hub that is home to some 15 million people, has suffered a series of attacks in the past year, including a bombing in the heart of the tourist district that killed a dozen German visitors and was blamed on IS.

Two months later, three Israelis and an Iranian were killed in a bomb attack on the city’s main Istiklal shopping street, also blamed on IS.

A blast on the tarmac at Istanbul’s other international airport, Sabiha Gokcen, killed a cleaner in December.

Turkey has been hit by at least five attacks blamed on IS jihadists, including a blast in Ankara in October 2015 that left over 100 dead, the worst in the country’s modern history.

The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK) – seen as a splinter group of the rebel Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) – also claimed a car bombing in Istanbul in June that killed 11, and warned foreign tourists they would not be safe in Turkey.

It said its action was to avenge a sustained offensive against the outlawed PKK in southeastern Turkey following the collapse of a ceasefire last year.

Hundreds of members of the Turkish security forces have since been killed in PKK attacks.


Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (47)

  • BB Khan
    Jun 29, 2016 - 1:19AM

    This has nothing to do with Islam.Recommend

  • Hakim Afghani
    Jun 29, 2016 - 1:31AM

    There you go… Turkey became another Pakistan!Recommend

  • Irfan_Sydney
    Jun 29, 2016 - 2:55AM

    Turkey has been an example for rest of the Muslim world. Then some Turkish politicians started finding faults in secularism and Attaturk And now a lot of people are in a hurry to get to heaven. Suicide attacks have become a norm for Turkey. Recommend

  • ZAK
    Jun 29, 2016 - 4:26AM

    Terrorist think they can implement their illicit agenda in this way. But they cannot.

    This is only chaos. It is way to destabilise Turkey and economically down the country.Recommend

  • Bharat Patel
    Jun 29, 2016 - 4:32AM

    Are these suicide bombers from LEt or JUD ?Recommend

  • Hady
    Jun 29, 2016 - 4:41AM

    My heart goes for the families of departed souls and Turkish people. My their souls rest in eternal peace. A very tragic and heart wrenching news before Eid.Recommend

  • Adnan Siddiqui
    Jun 29, 2016 - 6:06AM

    Erdogan’s “clever” policies have ruined Turkey. He is their Zia.Recommend

  • Tp
    Jun 29, 2016 - 6:09AM

    Blue on blue attacks are within the family. Rest of the world, keep out !Recommend

  • shaf
    Jun 29, 2016 - 8:06AM

    Turkey will pay the price of supporting Usa and its Arab Allies…..Recommend

  • Mujtaba Gujjar
    Jun 29, 2016 - 8:18AM

    Now Iran started to destabilize a enlighten Muslim country.Recommend

  • Najeebullah
    Jun 29, 2016 - 8:48AM

    Play with fire and you will be burned. Recommend

  • whats in the name
    Jun 29, 2016 - 8:54AM

    The Current PM or President or who ever it is, I suspected was a closet you know what… yeah correct. The major difference between Pakistan and Turkey is that, in Turkey the Military is Secular where as the present political dispensation is Fundamentalist, whilst in Pakistan the Military is Fundamentalist and the political dispensation is Secular to certain degree…Recommend

  • Hassan
    Jun 29, 2016 - 9:08AM

    @Hakim Afghani: say another Afghanistan not Pakistan, as Afghanistan is the only country Talibaan belongs to with other militant groups fighting with each other there and attacking on Pakistan as well.Recommend

  • Prada
    Jun 29, 2016 - 9:09AM

    @BB Khan: “This has nothing to do with Islam.”
    The attackers are Muslims. The victims are Muslims. It has everything to do with Islam.Recommend

  • Ehs
    Jun 29, 2016 - 9:18AM

    Really sad…Innocent lives have been lost….Recommend

  • Haha
    Jun 29, 2016 - 9:59AM

    All muslim countries and all muslims are same . This is the same country which kills Kurdish and shot down Russian jet . Now suffer …Recommend

  • Unknown
    Jun 29, 2016 - 10:09AM

    @Hakim Afghani:

    Wherever there is chaos or war, it could be more related to Afghanistan than any other country. Its time for you people to get some education Recommend

  • Hakim Afghani
    Jun 29, 2016 - 11:09AM

    It’s funny when a Pakistani tells us to get some education when they themselves have no idea what’s status of education in KPK and outside Lahore and Islamabad.

    Goto KPK and find out education level before running on Afghanistan.

    @Hassan: no sir, Turkey is becoming another Pakistan for supporting terrorists which were created by the USA. The same mistake is done by Turkey which was done by Pakistan 30 years ago and still Pakistan is getting fruit out of it. So NO. Turkey is just another Pakistan.Recommend

  • furqan jalal uddin
    Jun 29, 2016 - 11:16AM

    very condemn able dark ,insane and inhumane incident causing loss of innocent and valuable lives may ALLAH give patience to families who lost their love ones and may turkey in particular and world in general attain victory against the curse of terrorism Recommend

  • Farooq khan
    Jun 29, 2016 - 11:23AM

    So sad, an attack on Turkey is felt like one on my motherland. The enemies of Turkey must fail. The friends of Turkey must support her fearlessly and no one should get scared of flying with Turkish Airlines.Recommend

  • Travis
    Jun 29, 2016 - 12:00PM

    There is a BIG, fat elephant in the room and Muslims just turn the other way and pretend they don’t see it.
    Do they really not know what the REAL problem is? If that is the case, it will get a lot worse before it gets any better.Recommend

  • t.a.p.i.
    Jun 29, 2016 - 12:55PM

    kim jong un is a better leader than erdogan.Recommend

  • Zaida Parvez
    Jun 29, 2016 - 1:58PM

    @Farooq khan:
    Will you be more specific? Who are Turkey’s enemies and who should we fight against?Recommend

  • Sunil
    Jun 29, 2016 - 2:14PM

    Religion of “peace”, in action. Those who live by the sword die the by the sword.Recommend

  • bash gul
    Jun 29, 2016 - 2:22PM

    @Bharat Patel:
    They are NaxalitesRecommend

    Jun 29, 2016 - 2:28PM

    Erdogan’s patch-up with Russia had to be punished……..That is why Mr. Erdogan don’t WALTZ with the devil…….it will be fun initially as Turkey’s economy grew for a few years…but then TURKEY will have to pay the price…..PAKISTAN did the same and the results for all to see……..Recommend

  • Khan
    Jun 29, 2016 - 2:36PM

    @Bharat Patel:
    Why don’t you ask at home, terrorists frequent your place when you’re not there. Probably something to do with Bollywood.Recommend

  • Ashraf P
    Jun 29, 2016 - 3:29PM

    Erdogan is a disaster for Turkey. Now he has turned into a dictator and there is no way Turkey can get rid of him. If a newspaper says something negative about him the journalists are sent to jail.Recommend

  • Liberal
    Jun 29, 2016 - 5:03PM

    @Bharat Patel: You will find out when they blow you apart :)Recommend

  • Ajeet
    Jun 29, 2016 - 5:44PM

    Edrogen is Turkey’s Zia and has successfully turned turkey into Pakistan. Recommend

  • uzair
    Jun 29, 2016 - 6:16PM

    @hakim afghani you don’t know what Pakistan have done for you people and still you don’t have any respect for Pakistan.Recommend

  • uzair
    Jun 29, 2016 - 6:19PM

    Pakistan is a well educated country than afghanistan. Afghanistan needs to be well educated@Hakim Afghani: Recommend

  • Voiceless Pakistan
    Jun 29, 2016 - 8:39PM

    Iran and IS may appear poles apart

    politically but the two are the

    main fountain of terrorism

    in the world.Recommend

  • Chris Claytin
    Jun 29, 2016 - 9:05PM

    A terrible, terrible tragedy indeed; very,very sad; this is the sixth terrorist incident in turkey this year; it has been common knowledge that Erdogan is fond of snakes and cheap oil; but this tragedy just brought it all home. Very sad . Recommend

  • quatro
    Jun 29, 2016 - 9:30PM

    Turkey turned a blind eye on ISIS for a long time – paying the price for that mistake now.Recommend

  • Tyggar
    Jun 29, 2016 - 10:44PM

    You destroyed their country by creating the Taliban and continuing to support themRecommend

  • Hameed
    Jun 29, 2016 - 11:41PM


    Pakistan is a well educated country than afghanistan. Afghanistan needs to be well educated

    Pakistan, well educated, really? What has it done lately?Recommend

  • ramdar
    Jun 30, 2016 - 12:20AM

    “We urge the world, especially Western countries, to take a firm stand against terrorism,” Erdogan said in a statement.
    What are you doing Mr Erdogan? Killing Kurds that are fighting IS with US support, suppressing secularism in Turkey, encouraging fundamentalism!Recommend

  • Jibran
    Jun 30, 2016 - 12:37AM

    Turkey is directly responsible for feeding these snakelets. Erdogan must have refrained from following Pakistan’s footsteps.Recommend

  • Np
    Jun 30, 2016 - 12:44AM

    Erdogan supported IS and now IS is attacking Turkey.
    Feel sad for innocent Turks who are killed due to bad policies of leader.Recommend

  • Barry
    Jun 30, 2016 - 2:00AM

    Turkey started IS, and for a while was the main backer .along with Saudi Arabia

    And just as happened in Pakistan, IS has come back to haunt itRecommend

  • Sexton Blake
    Jun 30, 2016 - 2:24AM

    @Ashraf P:
    It is becoming standard practice in many Western countries to send people to prison if they say something a specific ethnic group disapproves of.Recommend

  • S
    Jun 30, 2016 - 2:31AM

    @Hakim Afghani:
    Never mind if Turkey is facing the same problems as Pakistan. Atleast Pakistan is a functional country and has the power to crush militancy. The same can’t be said about Afghanistan and it’s going to get worse. Don’t worry about our education. Worry about the existence of your country, not that it exists anyway. Recommend

  • syed & syed
    Jun 30, 2016 - 5:07AM

    @Voiceless Pakistan: Your presumption is wrong. Iran is a safe country and hanky panky is not tolerated. They have efficient intelligence and public co operates if some intruders tries to sneak in. Saudi Arabia and Gulf Sheikhdoms are real fountains who gives financial aid to IS Daesh etc. Turkey provides safe transit route and logistic support for the greed of stolen Syrian oil and look after the safety of Israel. The situation is similar to that of Afghanistan/ Russian conflict and Pakistan’s role. You may not digest the facts, sorry Recommend

  • numbersnumbers
    Jun 30, 2016 - 9:29AM

    @Sexton Blake:
    Wow, how Curious that you neglected to identify those “many western countries” that you claim “send people to prison if they say something a specific ethnic group disapproves of” as standard practice! Any chance of you listing them, along with that previous list of Mid East cities you previously claimed the Americans reduced to rubble?Recommend

  • Jason Mathai
    Jun 30, 2016 - 8:33PM

    While I sympathize with the people of Turkey, they have no one else to blame but their President Erdogan. Mr. Erdogan has been playing a double game letting the ISIS do as t pleases under the very nose of the Turkish Army as long as they are killing Syrian citizens. The Erdogan family is up to their eyeballs in Syrian & Iraqi blood, selling & profiting from stolen oil for the ISIS. When you keep mad dogs in your backyard and feed them, sooner or later they are bound to bite you. Too bad Turks, you have an idiot for a President.Recommend

  • Chris Claytin
    Jul 2, 2016 - 2:46PM

    Just a friendly suggestion to all my Islamic friends who are either citizens of western countries or tourists or frequent visitors; most western countries are NOT Islamic and are very tolerant, kind, law-abiding and helpful; and have their own culture and individual identities; just try and integrate if you’re planning on a semi-permanent or a permanent stay; please do not try and become vocal or vociferous about your faith because in the west, by and large your faith is entirely yours and yours alone – within your home; and yes, you WOULD NEED to conform and abide by the rules of western societies. If you can’t or don’t like to, please return home.Recommend

More in World