UPDATES WITH CONDOLENCES
By Faruk Zorlu
ANKARA (AA) - Nine soldiers were martyred and four others injured when a military helicopter crashed Thursday in eastern Turkey, according to the country's National Defense Ministry.
"As a result of the tragic accident, our nine heroic fellow soldiers in the helicopter were martyred and four others were injured," the ministry said in a statement.
The contact with the Cougar-type military helicopter, which took off from the eastern province of Bingol to Tatvan district at 1.55 p.m.[1055GMT], was cut off at 2.25 p.m. [1125GMT].
"The efforts are underway for the transfer of our injured personnel to the hospital," it said.
- Condolences pour in after crash
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wished Allah's mercy upon martyred soldiers and extended his condolences to their families and the Turkish Armed Forces.
The president was informed by National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar following the crash.
Vice President Fuat Oktay, on Twitter, also extended condolences to martyred soldiers' families.
"The pain of our heroic soldiers who were martyred tore our hearts out. I wish mercy from Allah to our martyrs and quick recovery to our wounded," Oktay said.
Also writing on Twitter, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said: "I wish Allah's mercy upon our nine soldiers who were martyred, and patience to their families in sorrow."
"I wish a quick recovery to our four wounded soldiers. Our pain is huge," he said.
Communications Director Fahrettin Altun also conveyed his condolences and wished mercy from Allah to martyrs and quick recovery to the injured.
The country's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu said: "I wish mercy from Allah to our soldiers who were martyred as a result of the crash of the military helicopter, my condolences and patience to their families and relatives, and quick recovery to our injured soldiers."