Explosion In Istanbul: What You Need To Know About The ISIS Attack In Turkey

An explosion in Istanbul on Tuesday, which killed at least 10 people and injured at least 15, was the result of a suicide bombing orchestrated by ISIS, according to CNN.

Here’s what you need to know about the Istanbul explosion based on information available at this time.

An explosion in Istanbul ripped through a popular tourist area on Tuesday, according to USA Today. The explosion occurred in the Sultanahmet district of Istanbul, near the famous Sultan Ahmed Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque.

At this time, BBC News is reporting at least 10 deaths from the Istanbul explosion. At least 15 people were injured in the blast in the Istanbul tourist area, and most of the injured are also German tourists. All of the individuals killed in the attack were German, according to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office.

The New York Times reports that the Turkish government is blaming the Islamic State for the attack.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu speaks to group of ambassadors on day of Istanbul explosion
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu speaks to group of ambassadors on day of Istanbul explosion

According to BBC News, Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, stated after the explosion that Turkey is the “top target for all terrorist groups in the region” and that Turkey is “fighting against all of them equally.”

The high number of German casualties in the explosion in Istanbul is not mere happenstance. According to The New York Times, one in six foreign visits to Turkey last year was from Germany, totalling 5.4 million visits to Turkey from Germany alone.

Germany and Turkey have long-standing ties. In November, according to the New York Times, the European Union, largely through Germany’s efforts, agreed to an arrangement that will offer Turkey three billion euros, or about $3.2 billion, along with other incentives, in exchange for helping to reduce the flow of Syrian refugees from Turkey into Europe. The European Union’s intent is for Turkey to provide more aid to the Syrian refugees inside its borders and reduce the number of those refugees moving into greater Europe.

Istanbul's Sultan Ahmed Mosque, the Blue Mosque near explosion in Istanbul
Istanbul's Sultan Ahmed Mosque, the Blue Mosque, near the ISIS suicide bombing explosion in Istanbul on January 12, 2016

International outrage was swift after the Istanbul explosion.

Prime Minister Davutoglu spoke with German chancellor Angela Merkel, according to ABC News, to express his condolences. The Associated Press reports that Merkel spoke strongly about the attack to reporters.

“Today Istanbul was the target, before Paris, Copenhagen, Tunis, and so many other areas. International terror changes the places of its attacks but its goal is always the same — it is our free life in free society. The terrorists are the enemies of all free people, indeed, the enemies of all humanity, whether in Syria or Turkey, in France or Germany.”

In the United States, President Barack Obama will deliver his final State of the Union address on Tuesday evening and is expected to strongly address the Istanbul attack.

Disrupting Turkey’s tourism industry by sowing fear through the Istanbul explosion may be one of the Islamic State’s goals. Tourism has recently been a $30 billion business for Turkey, but the industry is still recovering from a drop in visits from Russia after the Turkish military shot down a Russian warplane near the border with Syria in November.

Although this explosion’s target was Istanbul, ISIS’ activities may have a negative effect on tourism around the world. Many people appear to be wondering about the safety of international travel with ISIS active.

On Tuesday, January 12, 2016, the world grieves for the victims of the explosion in Istanbul.

Image via Associated Press.