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UNWTO Condemns Istanbul Explosions

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) on Sunday strongly condemned Saturday’s twin bombings in Istanbul. The explosions took place at around 11 pm local time following a football game at Besiktas Vodafone Arena.

Speaking during a press conference on Sunday, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said that a remote control detonated a car bomb on a hill adjacent to and overlooking the stadium. The second explosion, believed to be the result of a suicide bomb, took place at Macka Park.

Soylu said that 38 people were killed and 155 wounded. Of those killed, 30 were police officers.

“On the behalf of the international tourism community, UNWTO conveys its heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the victims and expresses its full solidarity with the people and the Government of Turkey”, said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.

Although no group has claimed responsibility for the twin bombings, Soylu said “the evidence so far points to the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party)”. According to press reports, 13 people have have been arrested in connection with the blasts.

“This attack reminds us once more that we are facing a global threat that requires us to work closer together to have a firm and coordinated response that engages all governments and the international community. Turkey is a leading tourism destination and we are confident it will continue to be so with the support of all”, UNWTO’s secretary-general added.

Greece’s foreign ministry condemned the attacks and expressed the country’s deep condolences in an announcement on Sunday. “In these difficult moments, we all stand by our friends and neighbours.”


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