What Is Ataturk? The Istanbul Airport Has Been A Turkish Point Of Pride
On Tuesday, two terrorist attack explosions hit Istanbul's Atatürk Airport, killing at least 28 and wounding 60 others, according to a government official as reported by ABC News. The attack occurred shortly after 10 p.m. local time. A government official told Turkish state broadcaster TRT that the attack involved machine guns and suicide belts, which were detonated outside the international terminal. The devastating attack is especially shocking and painful because Istanbul's Atatürk Airport is a point of pride for the country and the region. Update: According to a Turkish official, the death toll has risen to nearly 50 people.
Not only is Atatürk Airport the largest in Turkey, but in January, Bloomberg reported that it was climbing in status among international airports; Atatürk became the third busiest airport in Europe in 2015, beating out Frankfurt and falling just behind London's Heathrow and Paris' Charles de Gaulle in number of flights. Located on the European side of Istanbul, Atatürk is the main hub for Turkish Airlines. The airport served nearly 62 million travelers in 2015, and flies to 284 destinations in 113 countries.
Tuesday's attack appears to be the latest instance of terrorism to occur at a Turkish airport. Last December, a worker was killed by a blast at Sabiha Gökçen, another Istanbul airport located on the Asian side of the city. A subsequent investigation found that the cause of the explosion was a mortar attack, and a Kurdish rebel group, Freedom Falcons of Kurdistan, claimed responsibility for it.