Two blasts outside Besiktas stadium in Istanbul kill 38 people

All but two of those killed were police officers outside the stadium

Two blasts outside Besiktas stadium in Istanbul kill 38 people

Rescue services and ambulances rush to the scene of explosions near the Besiktas football club stadium after attacks in Istanbul | Image: Halit Onur Sandal AP/Press Association Images

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan has condemned twin blasts outside a football stadium in Istanbul that killed 38 people and injured more than 150.

He said: "I unreservedly condemn the appalling bomb attacks in Istanbul yesterday evening.

"I express my condolences to the families of those killed, and to the injured.

My thoughts are with the government and people of Turkey today, as they come to terms with yet another terrorist attack on their country.

"I utterly reject terrorism in all its forms, and repeat that we, along with other European Union Member States, stand in solidarity with Turkey in the fight against terrorism."

The Department of Foreign Affairs say Irish citizens should exercise a high degree of caution.

Those concerned about a friend or relative, or who need assistance, are asked to call +353-1-408-2000.

Turkish officials have said Kurdish militants may be responsible for the two bombs, which appeared to be a coordinated attack on police.

"Sooner or later, we will have our vengeance," said interior minister Suleyman Soylu, speaking at a funeral service at Istanbul police headquarters.

"This blood will not be left on the ground, no matter what the price, what the cost."

President Tayyip Erdogan called the attack on Saturday night "the ugly face of terror".

In the first explosion, a car bomb was blown up outside the Vodafone Arena, home to the club Besiktas, after a football match. Less than a minute later, a suicide bomber hit in an adjacent park.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but deputy prime minister Numan Kurtulmus said early indications pointed to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK.

"The arrows point at the PKK," he told CNN Turk. Thirteen people have been arrested.

Most of the victims - 30 - were police officers, seven were civilians and one was yet to be identified, officials said.

Another 166 were injured, and 136 people remained in hospital, including 14 under intensive care.

Authorities have determined that about 300-400kg of explosives were used in the powerful blasts.

Rescue and medics carry a wounded person after attacks in Istanbul | Image: Cansu Alkaya AP/Press Association Images

The number of civilians killed was lower than feared as fans had already left the stadium after the game when the blasts occurred.

The first explosion struck in an area where police special forces were located at the stadium exit. A riot police bus appears to have been the target, said Mr Soylu.

The suicide bomber triggered the explosive after being stopped by police in the nearby Macka Park.

Witnesses have described scenes of panic as the explosions rocked the area and shattered windows.

"It was like hell. The flames went all the way up to the sky," said Omer Yilmaz, who works as a cleaner at the nearby Dolmabahce Mosque, directly across the road from the stadium.

"People ducked under the tables, women began crying. Football fans drinking tea at the cafe sought shelter, it was horrible."

Sunday was a day of national mourning, with flags flying at half-mast across the nation and officials calling for a march against terrorism.

Mr Erdogan, who cancelled a planned trip to Kazakhstan, described the blasts as a terrorist attack on police and civilians.

He said the aim of the bombings, two hours after the end of a match attended by thousands of people, had been to cause maximum casualties.

"We have once again witnessed tonight in Istanbul the ugly face of terror, which tramples on every value and decency," he said.

"Nobody should doubt that with God's will, we as a country and a nation will overcome terror, terrorist organisations."

This year Istanbul has witnessed a spate of attacks attributed by authorities to the Islamic State group or claimed by Kurdish militants.

A state of emergency is in force following a failed coup attempt on July 15th.