Turkiye’s interior minister said on Monday that a suspect has been arrested, accusing the Kurdistan’s Workers’ Party (PKK) of responsibility for a bombing in a busy Istanbul shopping thoroughfare that killed six people andThe explosion tore through Istiklal Street, a popular shopping destination for locals and tourists, on Sunday afternoon, wounding dozens.
“The person who planted the bomb has been arrested,” interior minister Suleyman Soylu said in a statement broadcast by the official Anadolu news agency.
“According to our findings, the PKK terrorist organization is responsible,” he said.
The PKK, blacklisted as a terrorist group by Ankara as well as its Western allies, has kept up a deadly insurgency for Kurdish self-rule in southeastern Turkiye since the 1980s.
Regularly targeted by Turkish military operations, the group is also at the heart of a tussle between Sweden and Turkiye, which has been blocking Stockholm’s entry into NATO since May, accusing it of leniency toward the PKK.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the “vile attack” on Istiklal.
“It might be wrong if we say for sure that this is terror but according to first signs … there is a smell of terror there,” Erdogan told a news conference on Sunday.
Turkiye’s vice president Fuat Oktay said: “We believe that it is a terrorist act carried out by an attacker, whom we consider to be a woman, exploding the bomb.”
Justice minister Bekir Bozdag said: “A woman had been sitting on one of the benches for more than 40 minutes and then she got up.”
“One or two minutes later, an explosion occurred,” he told A Haber television.
“There are two possibilities,” he said. “There’s either a mechanism placed in this bag and it explodes, or someone remotely explodes (it).”
“All data on this woman are currently under scrutiny,” he said.
Soylu’s announcement did not add any details about the woman.