Turkey’s Istanbul a Ghost City after ISIS Suicide Attack

Turkey’s Istanbul a Ghost City after ISIS Suicide Attack
Mon Mar 21, 2016 09:00:03

Turkey’s most populous city, Istanbul, looks deserted after a deadly terrorist attack in one of its most famous avenues, a report says.

The Saturday explosion, which left five people dead and at least 39 wounded in İstiklal Avenue, has pushed many tourists to stay in, said a Monday report by the Hürriyet Daily News, the oldest current English-language daily in Turkey.

Police forces closed Taksim Square, which leads to the avenue, to both vehicles and pedestrians in an effort to maintain security following the suicide attack blamed on ISIS Takfiri terrorists.

As the world's fifth most popular tourist destination, the city went through an unusual Saturday night with shopping centers and other tourist attractions remaining unvisited.

‘People are Afraid!’

False reports contributed to the silence in the European side of the city despite being denied by authorities.

Streets in the Beşiktaş municipality were emptied after false reports emerged that a terrorist had escaped and remained so throughout the day as many reservations were canceled.

“Normally Beşiktaş would be jam-packed on Saturdays. However, today it is so silent and tranquil. People are afraid of going out. Our regular customers did not come today. Many customers have canceled their reservations for today,” a shopkeeper said.

A taxi driver also confirmed the situation in the area, saying, “Normally we could not even move due to traffic at this hour.”

The elite neighborhood of Nişantaşı was also affected by similar reports of a bomb attack.

“I have been a tradesman here for 20 years. This is the first time I see Nişantaşı so deserted. A number of tourist groups, especially Iranians, have been shopping here before Taksim attack. Tourists retreated to their hotels right after the attack and Nişantaşı was evacuated in an instant. People have already been holding back from touring and shopping in Nişantaşı for a while. They have become to be afraid to go out after today’s attack,” said a local shopkeeper.

Panic also hovered above the Asian side of the city, including Kadıköy, where shops closed early as coffee shops and metro stations were left empty.

“The overall traffic density in Istanbul also decreased as never before after the attack, measuring only at six percent according to figures from the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality,” said the daily in its report.

Turkey has been hit by a number of bombings recently, mostly blamed on ISIS and Kurdish forces in northern Syria.

The attacker behind the recent bombing has been identified as an affiliate of ISIS, Interior Minister Efkan Ala said earlier.

Turkey is itself suspected of actively training and arming Takfiri militants and buying smuggled oil from them, Press TV reported.

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