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An explosion being investigated as a “terrorist attack” rocked Istanbul on Sunday, killing six and injuring over 80 others just as Turkey was gaining attention as a potential European hub for Russian gas and an emerging power broker for the G20.
The explosion targeted Istanbul’s pedestrian Istiklal Avenue, a popular tourist destination, the Turkish Hurriyet Daily reported before the Turkish Radio and Television Supreme Council imposed a broadcast ban on the incident.
“Relevant authorities have launched an investigation to find the culprits and those behind this dastardly attack,” the Hurriyet cited Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an as saying, adding that the attack “smells like terrorism”.
“The public should know that the perpetrators of this attack will be punished in the way they deserve,” Erdogan said.
Early on Monday, media reported that one suspect had been taken into custody over the blast, while Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu has accused the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) of being behind the attack, Agence France Presse reported.
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag indicated that an unidentified woman had placed a bag on a bench containing explosives. Officials were not sure this early in the investigation whether the bag contained a timer or whether it was activated remotely, according to AFP.
Turkey considers the PKK a terrorist organization and has recently stepped up its airstrike campaign against PKK positions in Iraqi Kurdistan.
The explosion comes as Turkey makes moves to realize its ambitions - bolstered by Putin - of becoming a European energy hub for Russian gas.
It also comes as Erdogan emerges as a key power broker for the G20. On Sunday, Turkish media announced that Erdogan would attend the November 15-16th G20 Summit in Indonesia, where he will hold bilateral meetings with world leaders. Erdogan has taken advantage of his ability to operate as a mediator on the Ukraine battlefield to gain global political capital and leverage.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com