The item – a camping cylinder tied to a banner – was found on a fence of the D-100 highway at around 9:00 a.m. local time near the Okmeydani district; the object had caused panic around the site.
The banner was in support of the far-left Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front, or DHKP-C.
On Tuesday night, a woman blew herself up in the central Sultanahmet district, injuring police officer Kenan Kumas who died later at an Istanbul hospital. Another policeman was also injured but is not in a critical condition, according to city governor Vasip Sahin.
A funeral ceremony for the slain policeman was held in front of the Istanbul Police Department on Wednesday. Officer Kumas will be buried in his home town in the northern Trabzon province.
Speaking at the funeral ceremony, Istanbul Police Chief Selami Altinok promised to punish those behind the attack.
On Wednesday, the atmosphere had returned to normal in the Sultanahmet district. Visitors toured the area despite the cold weather but eyewitnesses were among those most affected ones by the attack.
Sales assistant Ahmet Balta, 34, was in a carpet shop located across from the incident area. He said that he thought at first that a roof had collapsed because of the bad weather.
“When I went out of the shop, I saw a policeman opening fire into the air. He then told us ‘there is a suicide bomber there’ and wanted us to move away,” Balta says, describing the event as "saddening."
Rifat Dundar, 30, a peddler who had been standing near the incident site said: “I was taking care of a customer when I heard a big noise. We’ve been shaken here; people were frightened.”
However, many tourists around the district today said they did not feel unsafe.
“It is such a big city. It happens in any city in the world. I don’t have any concerns about being here,” said 50-year-old Igor Kafkasky from Kiev.
Fifty-five-year-old Peter Crack, an accountant from Rhode Island, U.S. arrived in the city last night and heard about the event in a restaurant in Sultanahmet hours after he stepped in the city.
“We [together with his wife and son] were walking back to the hotel. We heard a lot of sirens and did not know what that was. When we got back to the hotel, the waiter told us there had been a bombing.”
“It is a reality of the world that we are living today,” he adds, noting that the incident would not deter him from visiting the city again.