Aviation

Bombing shuts Turkey’s Istanbul Ataturk Airport

Kate Webster

Turkey’s Istanbul Ataturk Airport is closed for up to 48 hours following terror attacks on site.

Travellers are urged to avoid Istanbul Ataturk airport in Turkey following attacks from suicide bombers who opened fire before blowing themselves up at the entrance, killing as many as 36 people and injuring over 120.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has said security forces have indicated the attack was carried out by Daesh (using the Arabic name for Isis), according to news reports.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has not said if any Australians were killed, injured or caught up in the attacks, but has warned Australians to “exercise a high degree of caution in Turkey overall” and “reconsider your need to travel to Ankara and Istanbul because of the high threat of terrorist attack.”

In a statement released today, Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said she condemned “what appears to be a coordinated terror attack.”

“The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is urgently seeking to determine whether any Australians have been affected,” Bishop said.

“I understand the Turkish authorities have secured the area of the attack and have advised that Ataturk Airport will be closed for up to 48 hours. We have updated our travel advice for Turkey to reflect the attacks. We continue to advise Australian travellers to reconsider their need to travel to Istanbul. Australians in Istanbul should remain attentive to their surroundings and follow the instructions of local authorities.”

Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin said the suicide bombers had carried out the “major co-ordinated” attack at Ataturk airport — Turkey’s largest — about 9.50pm Tuesday (4.50am Wednesday AEST).

Local news outlets reported that police fired shots to try to stop the attackers just before they reached a security checkpoint at the arrivals hall but they blew themselves up.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the attacks were “done with no specific goal in mind but to create propaganda against our county using the blood and pain of innocent people”.

Anyone due to travel to or from Istanbul Ataturk airport is advised to contact their travel agent or airline for details on their flight.

Updates from the industry

Intrepid Travel, Peregrine Adventures, and Geckos Adventures

James Thornton, Managing Director Intrepid Group confirmed that that all Intrepid Travel, Peregrine Adventures, and Geckos Adventures travellers in Turkey are safe and have been accounted for.

Thornton said “The safety of our travellers and staff is always our first priority. Our operations team in Istanbul have been working hard to look after our travellers on the ground in Turkey, and we will make any changes needed to ensure the ongoing safety and wellbeing of all our passengers. We’re closely monitoring travel advisories and our next step has been to review our upcoming trips to Turkey. We will be providing an update to agents and travellers on any changes shortly.  Our thoughts are with the Turkish people and all those impacted by this event.”

We have made the difficult decision to cancel all Intrepid Group departures for the next week, up to and including the 5th of July. We will make an assessment on trips departing from the 6th of July 2016 onwards once we have more information regarding the re-opening of Atuturk Internaitonal Airport. We are doing everything we can to provide support and assist with alternative arrangements for effected passengers.  We’ll provide further information and updates on our safety pages as we have it: www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us/safety ; www.peregrineadventures.com/safety-updates ; www.geckosadventures.com/safety-updates



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