Official ceremony honors 17 soldiers killed in crash
ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
Soldiers stand guard by the caskets of 17 Turkish soldiers killed when a military helicopter crashed on Nov 10 near Pervari district in Siirt province. DHA PhotoThe military funeral for the 17 military personnel who were killed in an army helicopter crash in the eastern province of Siirt Nov. 10 was held in the eastern province of Diyarbakır yesterday. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu attended the ceremony.
The Sikorsky-type helicopter, which was carrying the soldiers to an operation, crashed in the Pervari district of the province of Siirt. The military helicopter is believed to have run into a mountain because of heavy rain and fog.
Four of those killed were crew members and the other 13 were soldiers, according to Siirt Gov. Ahmet Aydın. The governor said the crash was caused by poor weather conditions, not a terrorist attack. The Turkish Armed Forces have announced that they have launched a probe into the causes behind the helicopter crash that killed 17 soldiers.
Energy Minister Taner Yıldız visited the late Halil İbrahim Çevik’s family in the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri.
Erdoğan met with the family members of the late Hakan Gemici and Yusuf Tüfekçi at the CIP Lounge of the Trabzon Airport in the Black Sea province of Trabzon.
The late Ersan Yenici’s father, Ali Yenici, spoke to the press on receiving his son’s remains. “My son willingly became a soldier. He gave his life to his country; I accept that. But I don’t forgive the government and prime minister, and I never will.”
Meanwhile, Nationalist Movement Party leader Devlet Bahçeli said the Sikorsky helicopters had been overused. He also said those in charge should be responsible for taking all the safety precautions for soldiers who are sent to such dangerous missions. He said the investigators of the case should also consider the possibility of sabotage, attack, imprudence and negligence in their probe.
He also said military vehicles should be immediately upgraded to the latest technology and the government should take the necessary steps to modernize Turkish army vehicles.
In a separate development, more troops were sent to the eastern province of Şemdinli for the ongoing operations against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, daily Hürriyet reported yesterday.
Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay, National Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz, Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin, Education Minister Ömer Dinçer, Food, Agriculture and Livestock Minister Mehdi Eker, Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel, army commanders, deputies and friends and families of the late soldiers also attended the ceremony. The remains of the soldiers were sent to their hometowns after the official ceremony.