Accessibility links

Breaking News

Turkey on Edge as Security Forces Hunt Terrorists

A man leaves carnations at the Saturday explosion site in Istanbul, March 20, 2016.

Turkey’s largest city, Istanbul, remains on edge after Saturday’s suicide bombing that was blamed on Islamic State terrorists. Concerns remain high as security forces continue to hunt for other suspects.

Fear continues to stalk Istanbul. Some parents kept their children away from school to avoid having them use service buses. People are also avoiding public spaces amid fears of further attacks.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his government is doing its utmost to confront the danger.

Erdogan said Turkey has recently been facing one of the biggest and bloodiest terrorist waves in its history. He said the state is fighting terrorist organizations and the forces behind them with everything at its disposal - its soldiers, police, village guards and intelligence.

On Sunday one of the biggest events on the country’s sporting calendar, a match between Istanbul’s top football (soccer) teams, was canceled.

The decision was made just a few hours before kickoff by the city governor, who cited what he said were credible intelligence warnings of another attack.

Turkish security sources cited in local media claim Islamic State is planning a major attack using suicide bombers and armed assailants, similar to November’s Paris attack.

Istanbul police have released images of three suspects believed to be linked to Saturday’s Istanbul bomber, who killed four people and injured dozens more.

The suspects are reportedly potential suicide bombers.

Turkish police sources say, from studying closed circuit television images, the bomber targeted a group of Israeli tourists and that he tracked them from their hotel. Three Israelis were killed and 11 injured.

Deputy chairman Engin Altay of the main opposition Republican People’s Party says the government had to share some responsibility for Saturday’s attack.

"The country is going through now is the result of the [ruling] AK Party’s unstable, contradictory, utopian, adventure-seeking policies in the Middle East," said Altay.

The opposition, along with some of Turkey’s Western allies, have accused the government of ignoring the threat of Islamic State and other jihadists groups in Syria, to focus too heavily on fighting Kurdish rebels.

Interior Minister Efkan Ala admitted Sunday security forces are struggling to stop the bombers. More than 200 people have been killed in five suicide attacks since January in Ankara or Istanbul.