ANKARA, Turkey —A Turkish military helicopter carrying soldiers on a mission against Kurdish rebels crashed because of bad weather in Siirt province, in southeastern Turkey, where the rebel Kurdistan Worker’s Party is fighting for self-rule Saturday, killing all 17 troops onboard, officials said.
President Abdullah Gul said the soldiers were on their way “to help their friends” in an operation against the rebels who have escalated attacks in recent months, adding the incident would not deter Turkey from its determination to fight the rebels.
The provincial governor, Ahmet Aydin, blamed the crash on heavy fog and ruled out an attack by the rebel group.
“The weather during the transportation (of troops) was bad. There was extreme rain. The helicopter crashed into rocks because of the fog,” Aydin said in televised statements. “The incident was the result of a crash and any kind of an attack is out of the question.”