ANKARA – World leaders condemned an explosion Sunday on Istanbul's Istiklal Avenue that left at least six people dead and 81 injured.
Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya said the blast occurred around 4:20 p.m. local time (1320GMT), with police and emergency officials cordoning off the scene.
"It smells like terrorism," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a news conference before leaving for a G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia.
Later, visiting the blast site, Vice President Fuat Oktay said it was considered a terrorist attack, adding that a female attacker detonated the bomb that caused the blast.
"I have learned with deep anguish about the explosion at Istiklal Avenue in the heart of Istanbul," Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Twitter.
"(The) government and the people of Pakistan express deepest condolences to the brotherly people of Türkiye at the loss of precious lives and send prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured," he added.
Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev said in a statement Baku is "deeply shocked" by the news, adding: "I extend my deep condolences to you, families and loved ones of those who were killed, and the brotherly people of Türkiye, and wish the injured recovery."
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson was "deeply shocked by the news of today's explosion in the heart of Istanbul."
"Our thoughts are with the victims, and with all those who have lost their loved ones. We stand with Türkiye," he said on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweeted that he is "deeply saddened" by the news and extended condolences to the victims and wished a speedy recovery to the injured.
"The pain of the friendly Turkish people is our pain," Zelenskyy added.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said the incident shook not only the residents of Istanbul, but the entire world.
French President Emmanuel Macron said the Turkish people were struck in their heart, Istanbul.
"On this day so symbolic for our nation, while we think of the victims who fell on November 13, 2015, the Turkish people are struck by an attack in their heart, Istanbul. To the Turks: we share your pain. We stand with you in the fight against terrorism," Macron tweeted.
On Nov. 13, 2015, terrorists carried out a set of coordinated attacks in Paris, killing 130 people.
Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani and Prime Minister Albin Kurti also expressed heartfelt condolences.
Messages of condolence were also sent by European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organizaion.
Meanwhile, the US also condemned the attack.
“Our thoughts are with those who were injured and our deepest condolences go to those who lost loved ones. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our NATO Ally Türkiye in countering terrorism,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.
The foreign ministries of Pakistan, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Germany, India, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Greece also expressed condolences. (Anadolu)