Turkish PM Calls for National Unity as Airport Death Toll Rises
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim issued a call for national unity early Wednesday, as his country faced a rising death toll from a suicide attack that killed at least 36 people at Istanbul's Ataturk international airport.
Yildirim, flanked by members of his cabinet, said three suicide bombers arrived by taxi Tuesday evening at the busy airport and opened fire with automatic weapons, shooting randomly at bystanders before detonating explosives as police closed in. The attack wounded 147 people.
VOA's Dorian Jones in Istanbul said one of the bombers detonated his explosives outside the international arrival terminal. That area is usually packed with people waiting for transportation. The two other attackers are believed to have tried to enter the terminal, which is protected by heavily armed police and X-ray machines.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility. But Yildirim said early evidence pointed to an attack by Islamic State extremists, whom he identified by the Arabic pejorative Daesh. He called the attack "cowardly" and vowed his country would continue to press its fight against extremism.
EU Tells Britain to Get Out Now
Tuesday was another awkward day for Britain as Prime Minister David Cameron met with European Union leaders in Brussels for the first time since British voters chose to quit the EU.
Cameron was expected to face tough questions on exactly when and how Britain plans to start divorce proceedings.
"I want the U.K. to clarify its position. Not today, not tomorrow at 9 a.m., but soon," EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told an EU parliament emergency meeting Tuesday.
But British leaders appear to be in no hurry to start the process. Cameron, who has already said he will resign because of the Brexit vote, has made it clear it will be his successor, not he, who will initiate the disengagement by invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty on a negotiated departure.
That may not happen until September at the earliest.
But France and other EU members fear the longer Britain waits, the more economic damage could occur. Brexit has already shaken markets around the world, and Juncker said Tuesday, "We cannot allow ourselves to remain in a prolonged period of uncertainty."
Leaders of the leave movement are demanding Britain still get tariff-free trade with the rest of the EU, just like Norway, a non-EU member, enjoys.
Some EU lawmakers are upset by the British demand, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
She warns Britain against what she calls cherry picking, saying, "If you want to exit and leave this family, then you cannot expect to drop obligations and have privileges continue."
U.S. President Barack Obama says he does not anticipate "major cataclysmic changes" coming out of Britain's decision to leave the EU.
He said the Brexit vote is a "pause button" for European integration as countries "take a breath" to think about how to keep their national identities, preserve the benefits of integration, and deal with voter frustrations.