City residents have been urged to avoid the area after an explosion on Istanbul's famous shopping street, Istiklal. Surrounding streets should also be kept free of traffic, the broadcaster TRT reported, citing authorities on Sunday. Istanbul governor Ali Yerlikaya had announced on Twitter that there were injuries and deaths. How many people were killed and the reason for the explosion were not initially known.
According to Yerlikaya, the explosion happened at 4:20 p.m. local time. Rescue workers and the police are on site in large numbers, the state broadcaster TRT reported.
Images shared on social media showed shattered windows and people lying on the ground. Rescue sirens could be heard in the area surrounding the scene.
The street is a tourist hotspot in the center of the European part of the Turkish metropolis, which is also often heavily frequented on Sundays.