Turkey’s president declared that those responsible for a deadly attack on Istanbul’s airport “are not Muslims.” Recep Tayyip Erdogan has named the so-called ‘Islamic State’ group the prime suspect.
Although no group has officially claimed responsibility for the attack on Istanbul’s main Ataturk Airport that killed 42 people late on Tuesday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has laid the blame on so-called “Islamic State” (IS) terrorists.
Speaking at a Ramadan fast-breaking feast in Ankara on Wednesday evening, Erdogan promised that Turkey would overcome the violence presented not only by IS, but by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and associated groups, who have recently reentered into armed conflict with the Turkish government.
“They are not Muslims. They will end up in hell. That’s where they will go. They have prepared their place in hell,” Erdogan told the audience to the sounds of applause.
“Neither the PKK), the YPG (People’s Protection Units), Daesh or the DHKP-C (Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front), nor the parallel gang of treachery will succeed in deterring Turkey from achieving its goals,” referring to IS by its Arabic acronym, Daesh.
Media reports suggested that three assailants stepped out of a taxi in front of the terminal and almost immediately started to unload their firearms. The trio then blew themselves up at different parts of the terminal: one by a security checkpoint, another directly outside the entrance and a third in the parking garage.
The massacre left 41 dead and wounded 239. In the wake of the attack, Erdogan declared Wednesday a national day of mourning.
CIA director: Attack bears the hallmark of IS
Both Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and the US CIA director John Brennan have echoed Erdogan’s statements that the attack is likely the work of IS jihadis.
“The attack bears the hallmarks of the Islamic State’s depravity,” said Brennan on Wednesday, while Yildirim told a press conference: “Our thoughts on those responsible for the attack lean towards Islamic State.”
Analysts have said that the likely goal of this IS attack, in line with several other recent bombings in Turkey’s biggest city, is to target tourism to the country – a significant portion of the nation’s income.