On June 28, 2016, a bomb and gun attack disrupted the daily routine at the Istanbul Ataturk Airport, killing at least 44 people and injuring over 230. According to Turkish sources, the Istanbul airport attack appears to be connected to ISIS.
The three attackers arrived at the Ataturk Airport in a taxi. They started to shoot at the terminal entrance and when the police fired back, the shooters blew themselves up. As stated by Turkish officials, the men originated from Russia, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan and they had a connection with ISIS.
The Attack Has Not Been Claimed
The terrorists came to Turkey in May 2016, from an ISIS stronghold in Raqqa, Syria. So, it is possible that ISIS leaders were involved in the planning of the Ataturk attack. Sources believe the terrorists had the bombs with them when the arrived in Turkey. Moreover, according to Turkish police references, “ISIS is behind the attack,” although the terrorist organization has not made that claim.
However, experts in the field are considering the terrorist organization has not laid claims to the attack because ISIS does not want to lose the support of the local followers. It appears ISIS wants to explore the conflict between Ankara and the Kurds and to undermine the administration of President Erdogan.
The Istanbul Ataturk Airport attack appears to be connected to ISIS because it happened on the second anniversary of the Islamic State Caliphate, on June 28, 2014. Still, the attack has not been claimed by any terrorist organization.
The Victims Are Mourned Globally
The Istanbul Ataturk Airport is a bridge between Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Therefore, at a quick glance across the terminal, it is easy to see the diversity. On June 28, 2016, during the attack, over 44 people were killed and at least 230 others were injured.
Most of the victims were Turkish but there were Saudis, Palestinians, and Iraqis. Moreover, according to Turkish officials, one Chinese, one Iranian, one Ukrainian, one Jordanian and one person from Uzbekistan were among the casualties.
The victims were all ages, both men and women, between 3 and 67 years old. They died immediately or at the hospital from their injuries.
Not the First Attack Over Turkey
The attack that took place at the Ataturk airport, on June 28, was not the only one that affected Istanbul in 2016. On January 12, a Syrian member of ISIS was the protagonist of a suicide attack in the Sultanahmet district, near the Blue Mosque. That attack killed 13 people –12 Germans and one Peruvian and 14 people were injured.
Two months later, in March, a bomber linked with ISIS detonated himself in the Beyoglu district, causing five deaths and over 35 people were wounded. It was the third attack in Istanbul but the 10th in Turkey since January 2016.
Locations of Other Attacks:
- Sirnak, on January 18
- Diyarbakir, on January 27, February 18-19, and March 10
- Ankara, on February 17 and March 13
- Nusaybin, on March 4
- Istanbul, on March 3
Most of the enlisted attacks were caused by the Kurdish-Turkish conflict, by Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) rebellion, or by the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party (DHKP-C).
A Safe Place for Tourists
After all these unfortunate events people are asking if Istanbul is a safe place for tourists. According to “The Telegraph,” travelers are wondering if they should cancel their holidays or avoid stopovers in Turkey.
Moreover, Yahoo! News stated that after the last attack, Istanbul is “nearly a ghost town.” The restaurants are empty and the hotels have really good prices, however, the important financial countries are warning their citizens against the threats in Turkey and Istanbul especially. It seems that the country has been passing through a hard time since May 2016. Turkey recorded a decline in tourism, registering 35 percent fewer visits than last year.
By Bianca-Ramona Dumitru
Edited by Jeanette Smith
BBC: Istanbul Ataturk airport attack: 41 dead and more than 230 hurt
CNN: ISIS leadership involved in Istanbul attack planning, Turkish source says
EuroNews: Ataturk Airport attack – why did it happen?
The Mirror: Istanbul Ataturk Airport terror attack comes on second anniversary of ISIS declaring Islamic State Caliphate
The Telegraph: Turkey travel advice: is Istanbul safe for tourists?
Image Courtesy of A. Currell‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License