“The celebrations were coming to an end and there was a big explosion among people dancing,” said 25-year-old Veli Can. “There was blood and body parts everywhere.”
The huge explosion could be heard in many parts of the city. Ambulances raced to the scene as authorities attempted to get a handle on the carnage. Police sealed off the site of the explosion and forensic teams moved in. Hundreds of residents gathered near the site chanting “Allah is great” as well as slogans denouncing terrorist attacks.
The pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party, or HDP, said in a statement that the wedding was for one of its members, and women and children had been among those killed.
Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek told NTV, “This was a barbaric attack. All terror groups, the PKK, Daesh [ISIS], the (Gulen movement) are targeting Turkey. But Allah willing, we will overcome.”
Turkey has seen 16 major terrorist attacks since January. The late-night attack was the deadliest this year in Turkey.
On January 12, 2016, a suicide attack in Istanbul's historic Sultanahmet district killed 13 people and injured 14.
On February 17, 2016, at least 30 people died and 60 were injured in a bombing in Ankara.
On March 19, 2016, a suicide bombing took place in Istanbul in front of the district governor's office, causing at least five deaths and injuring 36.
On June 28, three suspected Islamic State suicide bombers killed 44 people at Istanbul's main airport.