Initial reports suggested there were no casualties, as television footage showed armed police cordoning off a corner of the square. Pedestrians and traffic continued to use surrounding streets as normal.
NTV said some police vehicles had been damaged in the attack, and that the woman had escaped on foot, leaving her weapon behind. A photograph posted on social media by a local journalist showed what appeared to be a crudely modified machine gun.
Police could not immediately be reached for comment.
Just over three weeks ago, a suicide bomber blew herself up at a police station in Istanbul’s historic Sultanahmet district, killing one officer and wounding another.
The hard-left Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) initially claimed responsibility for that attack but later retracted its statement. Some Turkish newspapers have suggested the attack was orchestrated by Islamist militants.
Kurdish separatists, Islamist radicals and far-left groups have all staged deadly attacks in the past in Istanbul, Turkey’s biggest city and a major tourist destination.
Taksim Square is a transport hub surrounded by hotels that lies at the end of one of Istanbul’s main shopping streets. -AFP