The UK’s Foreign Office has updated its travel advice for Turkey in the wake of a deadly bombing in Istanbul. The advisory stated that Britons in the locality of the blast site at Sultanahmet Square needed to follow any instructions issued by security personnel.
The advice continued by warning Britons in, or planning visits to, Turkey to stay away from political demonstrations or large crowds of people. It also cautioned people to keep a careful eye open when travelling on any public transport or visiting busy locations such as markets or major tourism sites.
The statement also reiterated the Foreign Office’s warning on not venturing within 10kms of the Syrian border and provinces such as Hakkari and Siirt. The updated advice is a result of a bombing that claimed the lives of 10 in Sultanahmet yesterday morning.
Deputy-prime-minister Numan Kurtulmus said yesterday that a 28-year-old Syrian had detonated the bomb on Istanbul’s landmark square at 10:20 in the morning. Security forces immediately closed off the square after the explosion.
The death toll from the bombing is currently 10. Police and rescue services who attended the scene say more than 15 were injured too. Unconfirmed reports suggest that nine of the dead were German nationals.
In historic times, Sultanahmet Square was a chariot-racing hippodrome. The legendary Blue Mosque is right beside it. The two locations are the main sights in the old quarter of Istanbul and are high on the sightseeing itineraries of a significant proportion of the 12 million foreign tourists who visit Turkey every year.