Video: Suicide bomber strikes Istanbul tourist district, 10 dead

posted at 10:01 am on January 12, 2016 by Ed Morrissey

An explosion in the center of the tourist district in Istanbul killed at least 10 people earlier today, and the Turkish government has already concluded that a Syrian-born suicide bomber carried out the attack. The attack took place at the Sultanahment district, one of the main tourist and historic sites in the city, which encompasses both the Haga Sophia and the Blue Mosque. Officials in Turkey believe the bomber to have ties to ISIS:

A Syrian-born suicide bomber triggered a blast Tuesday in the heart of one of Istanbul’s main tourist districts, a senior official said, killing at least 10 people in a further sign of the country’s deepening instability in a region wracked by war.

The attack struck directly at a hub of Istanbul’s important tourism trade, reflecting similar tactics used by militants against popular sites in countries including Tunisia and Egypt.

Turkey’s deputy prime minister, Numan Kurtulmuş, told reporters that the attacker was identified as a Syrian, but gave no other details following an emergency meeting of security officials.

There was no immediate claim of responsibly, but Turkish officials have blamed the Islamic State for recent bombings elsewhere in Turkey. In addition, Kurdish separatists and domestic left-wing groups have carried out attacks in Turkey.

The Financial Times points out that Turkish officials have an unfortunate wealth of choices for enemies these days. Kurdish separatists in the PKK have conducted also conducted bombings in Turkey. This time, Turkey seems to have settled on ISIS quickly, though:

Almost exactly three months ago, two bombings in Ankara killed nearly a hundred people at a peace rally staged by Kurdish leftists, an unlikely PKK target. This would also be an unlikely target for the neo-Marxist PKK, so perhaps it should not surprise anyone that Turkey has settled on ISIS as the main mover and motivation for this attack. ISIS and its al-Qaeda allies routinely target commercial and tourist areas when plotting attacks, and this attack may produce a major impact on both areas of Turkey’s economy.

As it happens, I have been to the Sultanahmet district when I visited Istanbul in November 2013. We spent a few days there after traveling through the Holy Land. This is the view of the Haga Sophia from the plaza:

haga-sophia

This was taken on a cold and gloomy day, but there were still plenty of people in the plaza — perhaps more than this picture actually suggests. One question that might arise would be why the bomber chose to conduct an attack in the plaza rather than in one of the historical sites connected to the plaza. the Haga Sophia, for instance, would have been an obvious choice as a former church and mosque now converted to a museum, but there is also the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace connected to the same complex (in this picture, the Blue Mosque is behind me and Topkapi off to the right and down a short path). The answer is probably that the security to enter all of these places is rather significant, which made the plaza a better target of opportunity. That calculation may not hold for long, though, and those priceless buildings are under threat.

The question will be whether this pushes Turkey into a more aggressive position against ISIS. Turkey has wanted to push Bashar al-Assad out by any means necessary, and they gave thousands of jihadis safe transit into Syria to defeat him. They are paying the price for playing footsie with ISIS now, but it remains to be seen whether Erdogan will finally and fully commit to defeating ISIS as the top priority in the region.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Hey, Obama, about those priorities.

BuckeyeSam on January 12, 2016 at 10:02 AM

Oh well – muzzies gonna muzzie.

Pork-Chop on January 12, 2016 at 10:05 AM

It’s all good. ISIS poses no “existential threat” to the United States.

So sayeth the light bringer.

And despite Trump’s claims about the impact of terrorism and immigration on the nation, “there are no existential threats facing us.”

Bugs Bunny voice: “What a maroon”.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on January 12, 2016 at 10:06 AM

So he won’t be at the SOTU tonight?

artist on January 12, 2016 at 10:07 AM

Reap what you sow, Erdogan.

HumpBot Salvation on January 12, 2016 at 10:11 AM

Hey, Obama, about those priorities.

BuckeyeSam on January 12, 2016 at 10:02 AM

Obama’s priorities are clear, no matter how much they harm the United States.

He’s content with leaving foreign affairs to the next administration, complete with the whole mess he and Blue created in the Middle East. There will not have been one domestic terror attack by Muslims (so long as the current administration defines the terms). He will continue to use any excuse to go out after private gun ownership. And of course, he’s got to work on his golf game and doing a “victory lap” with a farewell tour to emphasize his standing as a “world leader.”

Happy Nomad on January 12, 2016 at 10:19 AM

I guess that isn’t the refugee invited by Hussein to attend the SOTU tonight.

Cecil Corn on January 12, 2016 at 10:21 AM

One more empty seat at the SOTU.

revolutionismyname on January 12, 2016 at 10:26 AM

I guess that isn’t the refugee invited by Hussein to attend the SOTU tonight.

Cecil Corn on January 12, 2016 at 10:21 AM

The token refugee is a 55-year-old who left Syria in 2013. Not at all like the legions of young men of fighting age claiming to be Syrian refugees. But the administration doesn’t know for sure since there is no way to vet them.

Nevertheless, Obama will go in full school marm mode and claim that we are denying tens of thousands of “refugees” access to the US.

Happy Nomad on January 12, 2016 at 10:27 AM

…complete with the whole mess he and Blue created in the Middle East.

Happy Nomad on January 12, 2016 at 10:19 AM

I’m not sure where and how Hillary acquired the title of “Blue,” but any time I see it, I automatically extend it to “Ole Blue…”

And always, the line runs through my head: “That dog don’t hunt.”

GrumpyOldFart on January 12, 2016 at 10:28 AM

It’s all good. ISIS poses no “existential threat” to the United States.
So sayeth the light bringer.
*****
Bugs Bunny voice: “What a maroon”.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on January 12, 2016 at 10:06 AM

Unfortunately, it reminds me as much or more of the recurring theme of subversives such as Palpatine – that, despite whatever drooling reaction the self-appointed, sanctimonious thought fascists might have about such fantasy story lines….

RL on January 12, 2016 at 10:29 AM

We need more devotees of the Muslim Pedo-Gawd here in Americaland.

Because Diversity™!

Jedditelol on January 12, 2016 at 10:31 AM

DAMN those JV boys!

bernzright777 on January 12, 2016 at 10:31 AM

Obama’s priorities are clear, no matter how much they harm the United States.

He’s content with leaving foreign affairs to the next administration, complete with the whole mess he and Blue created in the Middle East. There will not have been one domestic terror attack by Muslims (so long as the current administration defines the terms). He will continue to use any excuse to go out after private gun ownership. And of course, he’s got to work on his golf game and doing a “victory lap” with a farewell tour to emphasize his standing as a “world leader.”

Happy Nomad on January 12, 2016 at 10:19 AM

Don’t forget that the Obama Administration refuses to believe that North Korea is now a Nuclear Power. Denying reality is pretty much SOP for him.

Obama bumper sticker I should have made:

Not my Problem.

Johnnyreb on January 12, 2016 at 10:35 AM

Derka derka mohammed jihad.

ConstantineXI on January 12, 2016 at 10:38 AM

But Islam had nothing to do with it, I’m sure . . .

TarheelBen on January 12, 2016 at 10:39 AM

Their chickens have come home to roost.

Imrahil on January 12, 2016 at 10:41 AM

High horse crusades. No wait.

Buddahpundit on January 12, 2016 at 10:44 AM

I’m not sure where and how Hillary acquired the title of “Blue,” but any time I see it, I automatically extend it to “Ole Blue…”
And always, the line runs through my head: “That dog don’t hunt.”
GrumpyOldFart on January

I’ve always thought it referred to the character played by Julia Stiles on the YouTube series “Blue”.

Stiles, by the way, plays a single mom raising her son by concealing the fact that she is, in fact, a call girl.

Cleombrotus on January 12, 2016 at 10:46 AM

By all means let’s bring 30,000 of them here. Only some of them are terrorists after all….

Hank_Scorpio on January 12, 2016 at 10:52 AM

There isn’t a day that goes by now without a mass sexual attack or a bombing or killing.

And the world leaders do nothing.

PattyJ on January 12, 2016 at 10:58 AM

By all means let’s bring 30,000 of them here. Only some of them are terrorists after all….

Hank_Scorpio on January 12, 2016 at 10:52 AM

But they’re widows and orphans, you hater.

bigmacdaddy on January 12, 2016 at 11:01 AM

But they’re widows and orphans, you hater.

bigmacdaddy on January 12, 2016 at 11:01 AM

Yes, of course. What was I thinking??

Hank_Scorpio on January 12, 2016 at 11:03 AM

Yes, of course. What was I thinking??

Hank_Scorpio on January 12, 2016 at 11:03 AM

You’ll be on the first train.

bigmacdaddy on January 12, 2016 at 11:13 AM

Face it, muslims just enjoy killing – even their own.

I like this story though – the rats are turning on each other:
http://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/01/12/isis-burns-fighters-alive-for-letting-ramadi-fall.html?intcmp=hpbt2

dentarthurdent on January 12, 2016 at 11:24 AM

The bomber blew his chance for a corner store with gas in Kansas.

docflash on January 12, 2016 at 11:42 AM

We need to be thinking about the “what ifs” with ISIS. The government believes that the take down of 9 major substations and a transformer manufacturer would SD our grid for as long as 18 months. Yet few probably know that even though HA has written about it. The sunspot activity of 1858 took out the telegraph. It is estimated that a similar eruption would destroy the electrical grid and take 10 years to recover fully. We know a NY dam’s controls were hacked by someone, so it is not beyond my imagination, since I worked in the power generation field, that since everything is so automated hackers could cripple our country’s electricl grid. Imagine no electricity for 18 months or 10 years

amr on January 12, 2016 at 12:49 PM

We need sensible bomb-control laws passed NOW. Ban assault bombs!

Nutstuyu on January 12, 2016 at 1:28 PM

By all means let’s bring 30,000 of them here. Only some of them are terrorists after all….

Hank_Scorpio on January 12, 2016 at 10:52 AM

Pew Research (2007): 26% of younger Muslims in America believe suicide bombings are justified.

So, only about 2,800 we need to worry about! Good times!

Nutstuyu on January 12, 2016 at 1:31 PM

Nutstuyu on January 12, 2016 at 1:31 PM

By all means let’s bring 30,000 of them here. Only some of them are terrorists after all….

Hank_Scorpio on January 12, 2016 at 10:52 AM

The Polling Company CSP Poll (2015): 25% of Muslim-Americans say that violence against Americans in the United States is justified as part of the “global Jihad

OK, that’s 7,500. But I’m not worried! It’s just Trump doing more of his fear-mongering!!!

Nutstuyu on January 12, 2016 at 1:34 PM

What flavor of mooslime do they have in Turkey, anyways? Seems like they do like to blow each other up. Maybe we should just let it happen.

Kissmygrits on January 12, 2016 at 3:04 PM

From what I read some where, it was mostly Germans.

Germans getting it hard at home and abroad.

LoganSix on January 12, 2016 at 3:41 PM

They didn’t blame it on the Gaza Blockade? I’m shocked.

Pegcity on January 12, 2016 at 4:24 PM

They probably meant Syria, Virginia.

Since the real terrorists are angry white Tea Bagger males /s

The Schaef on January 12, 2016 at 4:25 PM