A large explosion near Istanbul’s premier football stadium, the Vodafone Arena, has injured at least a dozen people – mostly police officers – and gunshots echoed through central Istanbul a half-hour after the explosion.
The explosion took place near the police barriers around the stadium, according to images shared by local reporters, and while smoke billowed over the stadium, which is close to the Ritz Carlton hotel and the Dolmabahce Palace on the Bosporus.
A regularly scheduled match had ended around 9pm local time – about three hours before the explosion – and crowds had largely cleared, according to two eyewitnesses.
The incident occurred hours after Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party unveiled a controversial new draft constitution that would strengthen Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s presidency, and potentially allow him to rule the country until 2029.
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