Is The Istanbul Ataturk Explosion Terrorism?

According to the Associated Press, two explosions went off at Atatürk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey, on Tuesday afternoon Eastern Time. At first, AP reported that it was not immediately known if the explosions at Atatürk Airport were a terrorist attack — apparently, gunfire was also heard — but according to Al Jazeera, a Turkish official claims that the explosions and gunfire were almost certainly a terrorist attack carried out by a suicide bomber.

Considering that it is being reported that an explosion was heard, as well as gunfire, it is very likely that the there was a terrorist attack at the Istanbul airport — though according to Al Jazeera, no one has taken responsibility for the explosions or gunfire.

According to AP, Turkey's Minister of Justice, Bekir Bozdağ, told Turkish press the following about the attacks at Atatürk Airport:

According to the information I was given, a terrorist at the international terminal entrance first opened fire with a Kalashnikov and then blew himself up. We have around 10 martyrs [dead], and around 20 wounded.

Al Jazeera reported that many victims are being rushed away from the airport in need of medical assistance.

Additionally, BBC News reported that police opened fire by airport entrances to stop additional suspects — it has not yet been reported whether or not all suspects were apprehended.

Atatürk Airport is Istanbul's largest airport, and is not an unlikely terrorist target — according to Al Jazeera, more than 60 million passengers passed through the airport in 2015.

According to Reuters, Turkey is participating in the fight against ISIS, alongside the United States — making the country a target for ISIS-endorsed acts of terrorism. Furthermore, Turkey is also fighting against Kurdish militants who come from the largely Kurdish southeast of the country. Again, no group has taken responsibility for the attack as of yet.

Turkey has been the site of many terrorist attacks in the last year — attacks carried out by both ISIS and Kurdish militants, according to Reuters — which has greatly decreased tourism in the country, and therefore negatively impacted the Turkish economy.

The United States State Department released a travel warning on Monday for Americans traveling to Turkey. The statement instructed U.S. citizens to "exercise heightened vigilance and caution when visiting public access areas, especially those heavily frequented by tourists."

Unfortunately, the attack at Atatürk Airport proves that such vigilance is necessary in Turkey today.