38 Killed in Istanbul Explosion in Turkey

The nation of Turkey is in mourning today for the 38 people killed in an explosion outside of a football stadium in Istanbul

Suspected car bomb blast near Besiktas stadium in Istanbul from RT

A national day of mourning was declared on December 11, 2016 to grieve the loss of the 38 innocent people killed in an explosion outside of an Istanbul football stadium late Saturday night. This comes in the wake of renewed fighting with Kurdish militants, the war in Syria, an attempted coup earlier this year, and terrorist attacks on civilian soft targets throughout the country.

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While President Recep Tayyip Erdogan survived the coup attempt against his regime earlier this year, he still faces a daunting task in establishing stability across Turkey as the imposition of harsher measures to curtail opposition has emboldened his opponents. The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, a splinter faction of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, have claimed responsibility for the football stadium attack in Istanbul. The site of the attack is the football arena home to beloved Besiktas, one of Turkey’s most popular teams.

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Turkish ministers have vowed justice. Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said, “Sooner or later we will have our vengeance. This blood will not be left on the ground, no matter what the price, what the cost.” In addition to Kurdish militants, ISIS terrorists have also plagued Turkish security forces, typically choosing civilian targets that yield opportunities for large casualties while Kurdish militants prefer to target buildings related to the military and Turkish security forces.

Turkey launched a major offensive earlier this year in August 2016 aimed at assisting Syrian rebels repel ISIS forces but it has since come to light that the maneuvers were also an opportunity to confront the Democratic Union Party, another armed Kurdish splinter group from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. The parliamentary People’s Democratic Party, a Kurdish political group within the Turkish government holding 10% of the seats in the Turkish parliament, condemned the attacks saying: “Following the bom attack in Istanbul, many families were wracked with sorrow. We harshly condemn these attacks. We feel a great sadness and share the pain.”

[TIME – Turkey Mourns 38 Killed in Istanbul Blasts: ‘We Will Have Our Vengeance’]
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