Police have arrested a suspect who is believed to have planted the bomb that killed six people and wounded 81 others on a bustling pedestrian avenue in Istanbul, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Nov. 14.
The bomber has been identified as Syrian national Ahlam Albashir.
The suspects would have been smuggled to Greece if they had not been caught, Soylu informed, saying, “We have no more power to tolerate treachery.”
Turkish television broadcast footage purporting to show the main suspect being detained at a house where she was hiding. It said police searching the house also seized large amounts of cash, gold items and a gun.
Police later also released a photograph showing the woman standing between two Turkish flags, in handcuffs.
The minister also told reporters that the terrorist’s organization had “given orders for the main suspect to be killed to avoid evidence being traced back to them.”
In order to catch the woman who left the bomb on the avenue, 1,200 security cameras covering the routes to and from the scene were examined.
The woman left the scene by taxi and went to Esenler district. An operation was organized for 21 addresses that the woman was found to be in contact with during the physical and technical investigation.
Istanbul police said 46 people were detained in total, specifying that the explosive used in the attack was TNT.
The suspect reportedly stated in her interrogation that she was trained as a “special intelligence officer” by the PKK/YPG and that she entered.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called the bombing a “vile attack” that had the “smell of terror.”
The benches on the street were also removed by the municipality.
İstiklal Avenue was reopened to pedestrian traffic at 6 a.m. on Nov. 14 after police concluded inspections at the scene.
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ said eight public prosecutors and two deputy public prosecutors were assigned to the investigation. “All aspects of the incident are being actively investigated,” he said.
Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office also announced that an investigation has been launched into “negative news and posts” on social media accounts regarding the attack.
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Türkiye will continue to eliminate terrorists inside the country and in the region in a statement on Nov. 14 from Indonesia. He made the statements during the signature ceremony of five agreements between Türkiye and Indonesia following a meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the U.S. and the European Union – has been responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is its Syrian offshoot.