'We will continue our fight against terrorism with the same resolve, and will never take a step back,' Turkish PM says post Istanbul attack.
In remarks made during a meeting at the Cankaya Palace in the capital Ankara Tuesday afternoon following a deadly explosion that rocked Istanbul's Sultanahmet Square, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said: "We will continue our fight against terrorism with the same resolve, and will never take a step back".
Davutoglu said the suicide bomber was a “foreign national Daesh member”, while the victims in the attack included several foreigners.
Earlier, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told reporters that 11 people, including the bomber were killed and 15 others were injured in the blast. "Two of those injured in the attack are in critical condition while three others had left the hospital," Kurtulmus said.
According to the Turkish premier, a Turkish citizen and several German nationals were among the injured.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel told a press conference in Berlin that the Istanbul blast claimed the lives of "at least eight German tourists, and injured nine others".
Kurtulmus also revealed that the bomber was born in Syria in 1988, and had recently entered Turkey illegally from Syria, adding that the authorities were trying to “determine the identities” of those killed.
Meanwhile at the press conference, Davutoglu called on the world to take a joint stance against all terrorist groups, regardless of any ethnic, religious or sectarian differences.
"I am calling upon all of humanity; we must be in global solidarity. I am inviting all to stand shoulder-to-shoulder against the attacks in Istanbul and Ankara, just as we did after Paris attack," he said. "Let's raise our voices to say out loud that all terrorist organizations and terror [group] members are enemies of humanity," he added.
The premier also called upon Turkish political parties, non-governmental organizations and all stakeholders to make efforts for peace in Turkey and stand against all terrorist organizations, including Daesh and the PKK.
Davutoglu also warned against tarnishing "innocent Syrians" taking refuge in Turkey in the aftermath of the terrorist attack.
"While protecting the innocent, we are determined to pursue our active fight against terrorists," the Turkish premier added.
He strongly condemned the "terrorist attack" and also extended condolences to the countries and families of the victims, whom he called "our foreign friends and guests".
- Erdogan, Davutoglu call Merkel
Later in the evening, Davutoglu’s office said the Turkish premier made a phone call to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and offered his condolences over the German deaths in the attack.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also called Merkel to condole with families of the German victims, according to sources at Turkish presidency.
During the phone conversation, Erdogan highlighted that terrorism had no religion, nationality or identity; he assured Merkel that the wounded would be given the best treatment.
Both leaders also put emphasis on the need for taking a joint stance in the fight against all forms of terrorism and also reiterated their consensus on sustaining the cooperation between the security and intelligence agencies of the two countries.
German chancellor also convened her cabinet for an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday night, and told reporters that she will inform the ministers about her phone calls with Erdogan and Davutoglu.
German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier also said terrorism was a common threat to all in Turkey, Europe and the world, adding that Germany would continue to contribute in the fight against terrorism with its international partners.
“Now we need to quickly uncover details on the perpetrators and the background of this attack,” he said, adding that German officials were in close contact with their Turkish counterparts.
According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, Davutoglu told Merkel in a phone call that an investigation into the incident was being meticulously carried out and “all necessary information will be shared with German officials".