Pope sends condolences to victims of Istanbul explosion
By Vatican News staff reporter
In a telegram signed by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and addressed to the Apostolic Nuncio in Türkiye, Archbishop Marek Solczyński, on Tuesday, Pope Francis expressed his deep sadness upon learning of the deaths and injuries caused by the explosion of a bomb in Istanbul on Sunday.
Pope Francis "sends condolences to the families and friends of those who have died, assuring the injured and those who mourn their loved ones of his spiritual closeness," the message reads.
The Pope said he offers his prayers so "that no act of violence will discourage the efforts of the people of Türkiye to build a society based on the values of fraternity, justice and peace."
The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew, also expressed "firm condemnation" of the attack and, according to local media reports, went to the scene of the bombing to remember the victims.
The explosion took place at 4:20 p.m. local time on Sunday, devastating structures on Istiklal Caddesi street, in the Taksim district on the European side of the city, hitting a shopping and meeting area.
Footage circulated on social media, some by surveillance cameras, showed the instant of the explosion on the pedestrian street, which apparently took place in the midst of passers-by.
Earlier in the evening, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his deputy, Fuat Oktay, had spoken of a woman being responsible for the bomb.
Initially it was thought to be a suicide bomber, but statements in the evening confirmed that the person who planted the bomb had been arrested, without specifying the reasons why the suspect had been arrested, or whether it was a woman.
The Minister of Justice, Bekir Bozdag, referred to a "bag" lying on a bench for 40-45 minutes before the explosion. Together with her, 46 people have been arrested in recent hours. This number rose to 50 today, as announced by Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag.