A military helicopter crashed in eastern Turkey, killing 10 military personnel on board and injuring three others, the Ministry of Defense said Thursday.
The victims included Lt. Gen. Osman Erbas, an army corps commander, said Devlet Bahceli, the leader of Turkey’s main nationalist party, on Twitter. Pro-government Daily Sabah also reported that Erbas was killed. Nine of the victims died at the crash site, while the tenth died of his injuries in hospital, officials said.
The ministry said on-site searches “determined that the helicopter was damaged by an accident,” but provided no further details. Contact with the Cougar-type helicopter was lost 30 minutes after take off.
The helicopter crashed in the town of Tatvan, in the predominantly Kurdish-populated Bitlis province. The location is in an area where Turkish troops have been combating militants of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.
The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people since 1984. The PKK is considered to be a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union.
In 2017, a military helicopter crashed in the southeastern Sirnak province near Turkey’s border with Syria and Iraq, killing 13 soldiers.