ISTANBUL — An explosion shook a bustling pedestrian thoroughfare in central Istanbul on Sunday, killing at least six people and wounding dozens, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
Mr. Erdogan attributed the blast to a “bomb attack” and said those who carried it out would be punished, without accusing any specific group of being behind it. Speaking to reporters at the airport before flying to Indonesia for the Group of 20 summit, he said preliminary findings suggested that a woman had been involved but did not provide further details.
“Efforts to make Turkey and the Turkish nation surrender by terror will not reach their aim today, as they did not in the past,” he said.
Vice President Fuat Oktay told reporters that the government believed the blast was a terrorist attack and that a woman had detonated a bomb, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.
He said that four people were killed at the scene and two others died at a hospital. At least 81 people were wounded, with two in critical condition, he added.
The blast hit Istiklal Avenue, a short walk from Taksim Square and one of the city’s busiest areas for shopping, tourism and transit. A soccer game scheduled for later Sunday evening nearby may have brought even more people than usual to the area. That game has been postponed.
Videos shared on social media showed an orange fireball rising from the street and crowds of people panicking and rushing to flee the area. Other videos from the scene showed a number of badly wounded people on the ground, some of them covered in blood and not moving.
A TV reporter at the scene said he had seen at least five people wounded but walking, and at least four others lying on the ground.
Ambulances and fire trucks raced to the area, and a helicopter was spotted hovering overhead. The police cordoned off the area. Some stores nearby had closed their shutters immediately after the blast, but then reopened for people seeking shelter.
Carlotta Gall contributed reporting.