Crowds have begun returning to Istiklal Avenue, the busy pedestrian street in central Istanbul where a bombing on Sunday killed six people and wounded 81. Locals expressed shock and defiance after the attack.
Furkan works at a chocolate shop steps away from where the bomb went off.
“At about 4:20pm [13:20 GMT] we were smoking a cigarette by the door,” he told Al Jazeera. “All of a sudden, the explosion happened. We were astonished. It was a terrifying situation.”
He said a crowd quickly formed in the area and he was worried about the possibility of a second bomb going off. The shop closed for the rest of the day, but he was back at work on Monday.
Police had closed off all entrances to Istiklal following the explosion. The street was reopened on Monday although the main entrance was temporarily blocked by police until 3:45pm (12:35 GMT) as politicians visited the site of the blast, where flowers have been placed as a memorial for the victims. Istiklal was lined with Turkish flags, as many as 1,200, according to some accounts.
The blast killed a nine-year-old girl and her father, a teenager and her mother, and a married couple. All were Turkish citizens.
On Monday, authorities said 57 injured people had been discharged after treatment while 24 wounded, including two people in critical condition, remained in hospital.
The blast has revived grim memories of a series of attacks carried out by groups connected to the PKK and by ISIL (ISIS) throughout Turkey from 2015 to 2017. In March 2016, an ISIL-linked suicide bomber killed four people on Istiklal Avenue.
Soner Cagaptay, senior fellow at the Washington Institute, told Al Jazeera that further violence would likely have a bearing on Turkey’s parliamentary and presidential elections set for June.
“This is quite a worrisome development, and we will have to wait and see who is behind it and if there is any group that is going to assume responsibility,” he said.
“This attack, if followed by others, could result in the electorate swinging to the right and consolidating around the security candidate,” Cagaptay said. “This is what happened the last time Turkey went through a series of terror attacks in 2015.”