Whether the magnetospheric substorms can be triggered by the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) variations is an important issue in the substorm research. In this work we investigate observationally the relationship between substorm activities and IMF By variations, i.e., azimuthal turnings. We have searched for the EMT's azimuthal turning events for a period of one year using the data from multispacecraft monitoring the solar wind, WIND, IMP 8 and Geotail. Based on specific selection criteria, we have found 11 such events that exhibit pure azimuthal turnings while the IMF B-z remains quasi-steady. These events are found to be mostly in reasonable temporal associations with the substorm activities which were identified by multipoint measurements using the geomagnetic bays, auroral images, geosynchronous energetic particle injections and magnetic dipolarizations. We find an average response time of similar to8-9 min between the substorm onsets and the dayside magnetopause contact times of the IMF By turnings. The results suggest that in addition to the more popular trigger by northward turnings of the IMF, its azimuthal (both positive and negative) turnings be also regarded as another possible external trigger of substorms. (C) 2001 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.