Erdogan, world leaders condemn Ataturk Airport attack

Politicians denounce suicide bombings that killed 41 people and wounded dozens more at Istanbul’s largest airport.

Explosion in Istanbul
Ataturk Airport is one of the world's busiest ports, serving more than 60 million passengers in 2015 [EPA]

Politicians around the world have expressed shock and condemnation after three suicide bombers attacked Istanbul’s largest airport, killing at least 41 people and wounding many more.

Turkish officials said Tuesday evening’s attack at Ataturk Airport was likely to have been carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq of the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group.

There has been no claim of responsibility.

Turkey PM: ISIL prime suspect in Ataturk Airport attack

“The attack, which took place during the holy month of Ramadan, shows that terrorism strikes with no regard for faith and values,” Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a statement.

“If states, as all humanity, fail to join forces and wage a joint fight against terrorist organisations, all the possibilities that we dread in our minds will come true one by one.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the “terrorist attack” and called for the perpetrators to be identified and brought to justice.

In the United States, White House spokesman Josh Earnest expressed Washington’s “steadfast support” for Turkey following the attack, while US Secretary of State John Kerry said: “This is daily fare and that’s why I say the first challenge we need to face is countering non-state, violent actors.”

Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said that “all Americans stand united with the people of Turkey against this campaign of hatred and violence.

“Today’s attack in Istanbul only strengthens our resolve to defeat the forces of terrorism and radical jihadism around the world,” she said. “And it reminds us that the United States cannot retreat.”

Her rival Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, said the threat of attacks “has never been greater.

“We must take steps now to protect America from terrorists, and do everything in our power to improve our security to keep America safe.”

Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Turkey said at least seven Saudis were wounded in the attack and all were in stable condition.

European Union leaders on Tuesday held a summit on Britain’s departure from the bloc in Brussels, where two suicide bombs ripped through the Belgian capital’s airport in March, killing 16 people.

ISIL claimed responsibility for that attack, as well as a subsequent explosion at a Brussels metro station that killed 16 more people.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel tweeted from the meeting: 

Dalia Grybauskaite, president of Lithuania, wrote:

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said he was deeply saddened by the attack on Istanbul’s biggest airport.

“The people of Afghanistan feel the pain and suffering of the people of Turkey more than others, as we have been the victim of terrorism for years,” Ghani said in a statement, reiterating that joint action by all countries was needed to tackle security issues.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he was shocked by the news.

“We grieve for the victims and with the relatives. We stand by Turkey.”

Jean-Marc Ayrault, France’s foreign minister, condemned the attack as “odious and cowardly.”

Offering condolences, Ayrault said that France “is at Turkey’s side in the fight against terrorism.”

Pakistan’s foreign ministry also denounced the attack, offering “heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the bereaved families and to the brotherly people and government of Turkey”.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies