Istanbul was rocked by twin blasts on Saturday evening after the league football match between Besiktas and Bursaspor in a terrorist attack seemingly targeted at the security forces.
Roughly two hours after fans left the stadium following Besiktas’ 2-1 victory over Bursaspor at the Vodafone Arena on Saturday, a bomb blast occurred outside the stadium with another blowing up at Macka Park a few minutes later. The first one is reported to be a car bomb while the second was a suicide bomb, as confirmed by the officials.
The attack was seemingly targeted at the security forces leading many to believe Kurdish militants are behind the strike. The twin blasts left 166 injured while killing 29, most of whom were riot police officers. While the casualty count isn’t confirmed officially as yet, country President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stated that many among his police forces were ‘martyred’ as a result of the attacks.
In a statement to the nation, he said,”A terrorist attack has been carried out against our security forces and our citizens. It has been understood that the explosions after the Besiktas-Bursaspor football game aimed to maximise casualties. As a result of these attacks unfortunately we have martyrs and wounded.”
— Turkish Football (@Turkish_Futbol1) December 10, 2016
Despite the attacks coming only hours after the Besiktas vs Bursaspor game, there have been no casualties reported linked to fans from either of the teams. In a statement released on their respective websites, both the Super Lig teams condemned the attacks while also claiming that they were not aware of any untoward incidents to their respective set of supporters yet. They stated that both the parties had dispersed before the first attack outside the Vodafone Arena took place.
— Beşiktaş JK English (@BesiktasEnglish) December 10, 2016
The unfortunate incident on Saturday is the latest in a series of attacks this year linked to the Kurdish militant group or the Islamic State. The attack on Saturday is believed to be a retaliation from the Kurdish groups after 35 of their own were killed when they tried to storm a Turkish military base back in July. These incidents come in addition to the IS attacks on Istanbul’s Ataturk airport in June and a wedding convoy in August, both of which resulted in the death almost of 70 people.