Thousands gather for farewell to soldiers
ORDU/ERZURUM - Doğan News Agency
Nearly 20,000 people, including state officials, attended the funeral of 35-year-old Spc. Sgt. Önay Vurucu in the eastern province of Erzurum yesterday.Thousands of people gathered for the funerals of three Turkish soldiers who had died in a helicopter crash in Kabul last week in their hometowns yesterday.
30-year-old 1st Lt. Okan Melikoğlu and Maj. Şükür Bağdatlı’s funerals were held in the Black Sea province of Ordu with substantial attendance. Interior Minister İdris Naim Şener as well as Ordu Governor Orhan Düzgün and other state officials also attended the ceremonies.
Nearly 20,000 people attended the funeral of 35-year-old Spc. Sgt. Önay Vurucu in the eastern province of Erzurum. Development Minister Cevdet Yılmaz as well as a number of politicians and senior army commanders attended the funeral.
The bodies of the five Ankara natives – Maj. Mithat Çolak, Capt. İlker Aydın, Capt. Adil Erdoğan, Lt. Tahsin Barutçu and Sgt. Maj. Salih Helvacı – were buried on March 20 following a final respects ceremony in Ankara the same day.
The other four soldiers’ bodies were also flown to their hometowns – Maj. Serkan Doğan to Tekirdağ, Staff Sgt. Mehmet Akbaş to Isparta and Lt. Murat Yıldız to İzmir. The 12 soldiers perished when their Skorsky helicopter crashed into a residential building near the Afghan capital March 16, due to what is believed to have been a technical failure. Four Afghan civilians were killed on the ground. It was the deadliest incident involving Turkish soldiers in Afghanistan yet. The cause of the crash is under investigation.