(Istanbul) The Turkish Defense Ministry said today, Thursday, that 11 Turkish soldiers, including a high-ranking officer, were killed when the helicopter they were traveling in crashed in southeastern Turkey, citing an “accident.”
The ministry said in a statement that nine soldiers were killed and four wounded in the accident, adding that it occurred in the Badlis area.
The Ministry of Defense said later that two other soldiers died of their wounds.
According to the ruling Justice and Development Party deputy Tolga Agar, General Osman Arbas, commander of the 8th Army, is among the dead.
According to the Ministry of Defense, the bomb, a cougar produced by Airbus, took off from the town of Bingol bound for Tatfan in the morning, then disappeared from the radar half an hour later.
And the authorities were able to determine the location of the tragedy after the deployment of drones, reconnaissance aircraft and another helicopter.
The cause of the accident was not immediately determined, but according to the images broadcast by Turkish TV channels, the area in which it occurred was flooded with dense fog.
Ibrahim Kalin, spokesman for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, replied, “Our pain is great.”
The US Embassy in Ankara posted its “heartfelt condolences” on Twitter. Our hearts go out to the families of the victims. We wish the injured a speedy recovery. ”
“We share Turkey’s deep sorrow,” the European Union’s ambassador to Turkey, Nicholas Mayer-Landrott, said in a statement.
According to a Turkish diplomatic source, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg offered his condolences to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and assured him of the alliance’s solidarity with Turkey.
The Turkish defense and interior ministers will visit the crash site in the evening, according to Turkish media.
The Turkish military regularly conducts operations in southeast Turkey against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a group that Ankara and its Western allies have described as a “terrorist”.
In 2017, a Cougar military helicopter crashed in Sirnak province bordering Syria and Iraq, killing 13 people.
“Food trailblazer. Passionate troublemaker. Coffee fanatic. General analyst. Certified creator. Lifelong music expert. Alcohol specialist.”