Turkish police arrest 46 people over Istanbul explosion

The interior minister has said that Kurdish fighters are responsible for the explosion and that among those seized is "the individual who left the explosive" on Istiklal Avenue.

Istanbul police have said that 46 people have been arrested in connection with the explosion in the city's central district on October 30 that killed at least six people and injured 81.
According to Monday's press conference given by Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, one of the suspects is "the individual who left the device that triggered the explosion" on Istanbul's bustling Istiklal Avenue.
Soylu stated the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) was responsible for the explosion on Sunday in the busy retail and tourist district, adding, "Our conclusion is that the order for the tragic terror act came from Ain al-Arab [Kobane] in northern Syria."
He said that 81 people were injured, with two in critical condition, and that retaliation would be taken against those responsible for the terror assault.
An official at the highest level in Turkey revealed on Monday that they have not ruled out the possibility of ties to ISIL (ISIS).
The PKK issued a statement condemning the attack and denying any involvement on its part.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the blast "treacherous" and "smells like terrorism" on Sunday.
A woman was spotted on one of the benches on Istiklal Avenue for almost 40 minutes, according to Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag, who made the statement later on Sunday to Haber television.
"Minutes after she got up, the bomb went off," he added.
He told A Haber that there are "two possibilities."A device inside this bag causes it to explode, or the explosion is triggered by remote control.
During preliminary questioning, the woman reportedly admitted that she had been trained by Kurdish fighters in Syria and had entered Turkey via the Afrin region in northwest Syria.
Images of what appeared to be a woman putting a parcel below a raised flower bed on Istiklal, a thoroughfare with a tramline running the length of it, were also shown on television news programs.

Security officials told Al Jazeera's Koseoglu that two more Syrian nationals were involved in the incident.

Koseoglu reported that Turkey's interior minister had indicated the attackers had ties to the YPG, a Kurdish fighting force in Syria that Turkey views as a branch of the terrorist PKK.

Turkey has been quite tough about Syrians remaining in big cities without residential licenses or without being registered, so "we're waiting for officials to offer further data about the suspects," including how they crossed the border, according to the BBC.

She went on to say that the woman "was seized by the police in the place where she was staying" at 2:50 a.m. and estimated her age to be in her late twenties or early thirties.

Over 1,200 surveillance cameras in the area around the blast site have been examined, according to Istanbul police. The female suspect has been linked to 21 distinct locations, all of which have been searched by police.

Kurdish separatists, ISIL (ISIS), and other groups have previously launched attacks in Istanbul and other Turkish cities, particularly in 2015 and 2016.

The December 2016 blasts outside of a football stadium in Istanbul, which killed 38 and injured 155, are one example. An offshoot of the PKK, which has been fighting for Kurdish self-rule in southeast Turkey since the 1980s and is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU, and the US, claimed responsibility for the attack.

The PKK is a frequent target of Turkish military operations, and it is also at the center of a struggle between Sweden and Turkey; Ankara has been stalling Stockholm's entrance into NATO since May on the grounds that Sweden is too lenient towards the Kurdish group.

Multiple countries, including Azerbaijan, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Pakistan, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States, voiced their condemnation of the incident on Sunday and their sympathies to the victims.

Greece has "unequivocally" condemned the explosion and offered condolences, while the United States has said it stands "shoulder to shoulder" with our NATO friend in confronting terrorism.

In a statement to the Turkish people, French President Emmanuel Macron declared, "We feel your grief." The battle against terrorism is a cause in which we share your resolve.

"The agony of the brotherly Turkish people is our pain," tweeted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Turkish.

On Twitter, European Council President Charles Michel added his sympathies, writing, "My prayers are with the victims and their families."

SOURCE:NEWS AGENCIES

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