ANKARA (AA) – An unidentified surface-to-air missile might be used to bring down a Turkish gunship helicopter last week in Turkey’s southeastern Hakkari province, which martyred two pilots, Turkish military said in a statement Thursday.
An earlier statement had termed the crash a possible result of a “technical fault”.
However, in its latest written statement, the Turkish Armed Forces said: "It has been concluded that one of the helicopters, while performing its duty, crashed when it was hit probably by an unidentified missile fired from the ground by terrorists."
On May 13, six Turkish soldiers were martyred and eight others were injured at 4.50 a.m. (0150GMT) in clashes with PKK terrorists at the Cigli military zone in Hakkari’s Cukurca district.
About an hour later, a gunship helicopter was sent to the region in response to the clash, but it crashed, killing the two pilots.
Hakkari province is in the southeast mountainous corner of Turkey, with Cukurca district located on the border with Iraq; it is said to be serving as a route for terrorists entering Turkey.
PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and EU – resumed its 30-year armed campaign against the Turkish state in July 2015.
Since then, more than 450 members of the security forces, including troops, police officers, and village guards, have been martyred, and over 4,500 PKK terrorists killed in operations across Turkey and northern Iraq.