Retired soldier detained over helicopter crash

Retired soldier detained over helicopter crash

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Retired soldier detained over helicopter crash

The helicopter carrying BBP leader Yazıcıoğlu and four others crashed in a mountainous region in 2009. Seven people have so far been arrested in the case. Hürriyet photo

Law enforcement officers detained yesterday a retired soldier as part of the investigation over the 2009 helicopter crash that killed Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu, the head of the Great Union Party (BBP).

The retired soldier has begun to testify at the Istanbul Anti-Terror Branch Directorate, according to reports. Meanwhile, technician K.K, who worked at the company that owned the crashed helicopter, also testified in relation to the case in his office at Istanbul Atatürk Airport.

The helicopter carrying Yazıcıoğlu crashed in a mountainous region in the southern province of Kahramanmaraş while it was traveling from an election rally on March 25, 2009. All five passengers on the helicopter were found dead when the wreckage was located 47 hours later, including journalist İsmail Güneş, who called for help before succumbing to injuries he sustained in the accident.

The delay in reaching the wreckage caused an uproar in some circles, leading to allegations that Yazıcıoğlu had been deliberately left to die, while later reports also indicated that the flight record devices had been removed from the helicopter with a screwdriver after the accident.

President Abdullah Gül became the first person to bring up the issue on Sept. 21 when he talked of notifications he had received, including a video recording that showed the troops removing the devices. There were further allegations that planes had hindered the helicopter’s flight path and that the aircraft’s radar records had been erased.

A number of active-duty troops have already been arrested or interrogated as part of the investigation.