Ankara, June 29: Thirty-six people were killed were dozens were injured in a terror strike in Istanbul's Ataturk Airport on Tuesday (June 28) just when Turkey launched a diplomatic mission to better its broken ties with Israel and Russia in the wake of major disputes.
The attack in the country's biggest airport was carried out by three militants who later blew themselves up.
It was earlier on Tuesday that Ankara signed a pact with Tel Aviv to normalise their ties after a low phase of six years. Their ties took a nosedive after Israeli commandoes killed 10 Turkish pro-Palestinian activists on the Mavi Marmara aid flotilla in May 2010 after the latter tried to breach the Gaza blockade by Israel.
It was also a day before (June 27) that Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wrote to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin expressing sorrow over the shooting down a Russian warplane last year for violating his country's airspace while conducting operations in Syria. The Russians responded positively, boosting the morale of the tour operators in both countries as Turkey has been witnessing a steep decline in its tourism industry in the wake of the problems.
The Turkish authorities were also considering betterment of relations with Egypt that declined following a military coup by the latter's president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi three years ago. Turkey had reacted to the ouster of President Mohammad Morsi then.
Eight months ago, Ankara witnessed the deadliest terror attack and it was one among the many strikes that Turkey experienced in 2015. The Ankara bombings that left over 100 civilians dead and several more injured were carried out by the Islamic State.
Experts believe that the latest attack at the Istanbul airport is related in some way with Turkey's efforts to mend diplomatic ties with other powers in the region but also other moves made against the IS, which is considered a major threat to the country's borders.
Thirty-six suspects in the Ankara bombings of October 2015 are facing up to 11,750 years of jail time, according to the indictment by the Ankara Public Prosecutor's Office and it included IS militant Yunus Emre Alagöz along with an unnamed Syrian militant as the suicide bombers who were behind the attack. Alagöz's brother, Abdurrahman Alagöz, has also committed an attack in Suruç in southeast Turkey in July 2015 killing 33 young activists.
Turkey also altered rules to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) forces to conduct more patrol flights along with border with norther Syria against the IS militants, as Reuters quoted a Turkish official as saying on Tuesday.
The attack could also be orchestrated by the Kurdistan Workers' Party as a retaliation against the military campaign against it in the southeastern provinces of Turkey.