Turkey became major target of ISIL attacks in 2016
Turkey became the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) top target in the world in 2016, according to casualty figures from attacks staged by the jihadist group.
Some 124 people were killed and 419 were injured in attacks only in Istanbul and Gaziantep in the southeast last year, according to TR Diplomacy, an unofficial social media account that is known for publishing data in support of the Turkish government’s international public diplomacy efforts.
This roughly matched with the official data, as 59 people were killed in an ISIL attack in Gaziantep targeting an outdoor wedding ceremony on Aug. 20, and at least 47 people were killed in a triple suicide bombing and gun attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport on June 29.
Three Israelis and one Iranian were also killed and dozens were injured in a suicide bombing on Istanbul’s central İstiklal Avenue on March 19.
Eleven German tourists were killed and another 16 people were wounded in a suicide attack by a Syrian bomber in Istanbul’s Sultanahmet district, the ancient tourist heart of the city.
At least 275 people were killed and thousands wounded in major bomb attacks across Turkey staged by ISIL or the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) over the course of 2016.
The figures do not include the 39 victims of the Reina nightclub attack in Istanbul, which occurred in the first hours of the new year.
Turkey is part of the U.S.-led coalition against ISIL and launched an incursion into Syria in August to drive terror groups from its borders. It also helped broker the recent fragile cease-fire in Syria with Russia.
One month ago, a spokesman for ISIL urged supporters to target “the secular, apostate Turkish government.”