18 December, 2007
Small explosion in front of Ziraat Bank in Harbiye
About an hour ago, someone or something caused a small explosion in front of the state-run Ziraat Bank around the corner from my house. Ziraat, headquartered in Ankara, is the largest bank in Turkey.
Roommate #2 and I were watching t.v. when we heard a very loud sound, much like a very loud clap of thunder before a storm. We looked at each other in surprise, knowing exactly what the sound was. Leaning out our window we saw people on the corner of Cumhurriyet looking and gesturing towards Taksim. My roommate went down to see what happened. As I was heading downstairs he met me on the stairs to tell me it had been what he called "a bomb", albeit a small one.
We walked back to the bank, where about 30 police officers from various divisions were gathered around the perimeter of the crime scene. They had taped off part of one lane of Cumhurriyet in front of the bank and a large portion of the sidewalk in front of the ATMs. Dirt and leaves were scattered about the pavement, as if the explosion had gone off in a little patch of landscaping in front of the bank.A small group of men who looked to be press trickled in and began shooting the exact same photos from the exact same angles, which was amusing to watch. My roommate and I milled around the crime scene tape while I took a few shots and watched two investigators scan the outside of the building for evidence and/or any other devices. One officer finally asked me for my credentials, but I just dodged and said "freelance", which for some reason made everything alright.Pedestrians milled about, walked out into the street to get by, and seemed rather bored by the whole thing. One man who asked us what had happened said he had been in the nearby theater and hadn't heard a thing. Mostly the various groups of cops talked amongst themselves. There were some very businesslike plain clothed officers who seemed a bit more focused. At one point, a crowd of police hustled a long-faced man holding a shopping bag from a popular store into the lobby of the bank next door.Bottom line at the moment - small explosive device, little damage, no injuries, just some curiosity from people like us. Nothing has come up on the news yet.