Explosive violence in TurkeyAOAV: all our reports

Six killed and 81 injured in IED explosion near Istanbul’s Taksim Square, Turkey, 13 Nov.

At least six civilians were killed and 81 others injured when a bomb detonated on Istiklal Avenue, a busy shopping street near Taksim Square, on the afternoon of 13 Nov. The generally crowded street was busier than usual due to an upcoming football game. 

Those killed include two young girls, two women, and two men. 

This would be the first major bomb blast in Istanbul since 2017. Istiklal Avenue itself was targeted in a 2016 suicide bombing which killed five people and injured 36. 

Turkish authorities state that preliminary investigations suggest it was a terrorist attack, and a suspect has been taken into custody. Erdogan claims the PKK is behind the blast, but they and other Kurdish groups have denied any involvement. 

In 2022, AOAV has recorded seven incidents of explosive weapon use in Turkey, which have caused 93 reported civilian casualties and 17 armed actor casualties. The 13 Nov blast is the most injurious in 2022, having caused 94% of civilian casualties of explosive weapon use in Turkey in 2022. 

Since 2010, AOAV has recorded 332 incidents and 3,680 civilian casualties of explosive violence in Turkey. Civilians account for 67% of all 5,941 recorded casualties in that time. 

IEDs have been the most injurious explosive weapon, accounting for 59% of those incidents, and 88% of civilian casualties. Non-specific IEDs caused 1,589 civilian casualties, car bombs caused 1,333, combined IEDs caused 163, and roadside bombs caused 149 civilian casualties.

They’re followed by ground-launched weapons, which were used in 27% of incidents, and caused 11% of civilian casualties. The most injurious ground-launched weapons are rockets (151 civilian casualties), mortars (143), missiles (35), combined ground-launched weapons (28), and shelling (20).

Non-state actors are the reported perpetrators of 84% of civilian casualties in that time, notably ISIS, the PKK, and the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK).

The most frequently targeted locations have been roads (93 incidents), armed bases (30), urban residential areas (26), police stations (24), and public buildings (16), but the most civilian casualties have occurred at public gatherings (989 civilian casualties), police stations (577), transport-related infrastructure (503), town centres (270), and roads (246). 

AOAV’s casualty figures represent the lowest of estimations in terms of the number of people killed and injured by explosive weapon use. In an effort to quantify the explicit harm caused by specific explosive weapons, AOAV solely records incident-specific casualty figures, as reported in English-language media.

AOAV condemns the use of violence against civilians and the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. All actors should stop using explosive weapons with wide-area effects where there is likely to be a high concentration of civilians.