By Havva Kara Aydin
ANKARA (AA) – Condolences poured in from across the world after 11 Turkish soldiers, including a senior officer, were martyred in a helicopter crashed in eastern Turkey on Thursday.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg phoned Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to convey condolences for the soldiers who lost their lives in the crash, a diplomatic source said.
Stoltenberg stressed that NATO is in solidarity with Turkey, it added.
In a Twitter post, the US Embassy in Ankara said: “Our thoughts are with the families of all those affected, and we wish a rapid recovery to the injured.”
“I received the news that a military helicopter crashed in Bitlis and nine soldiers were martyred. I share the pain of our ally Turkey, wishing condolences to the families of those killed and Turkey,” Dominick Chilcott, British ambassador to Turkey, said on Twitter.
Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut, the head of the EU Delegation to Turkey, said on Twitter: “We share the deep sorrow of Turkey for the loss of 9 military personnel in Bitlis.”
Also, the delegation said: “As the Delegation of the European Union to Turkey, we express our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the victims, and to Turkey. We wish for the speedy recovery of those injured.”
“Our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and the Turkish nation on the tragic helicopter crash in Tatvan, Bitlis where nine soldiers martyred and four injured,” the Pakistani Embassy in Ankara said on Twitter.
Iran’s Ambassador to Turkey Mohammad Farazmand extended condolences, saying: “I convey condolences to the Government of Turkey, Turkish people and grieving families over a painful incident that nine people lost their lives and four injured, as a result of failing helicopter, belonging to Turkey.”
He also wished a speedy recovery for injured soldiers.
Conveying his condolences, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Turkey Andrii Sybiha, said on Twitter: “I wish mercy from Allah to the Turkish soldiers who were martyred as a result of the crash of the military helicopter departing from Bingol, and urgent healing to those who were injured.”
Italy’s Embassy in Ankara said on Twitter: “We learned with pain the news of the tragic plane crash in which nine Turkish soldiers lost their lives and four soldiers were injured. In this sad moment, we stand by the Turkish people and wish our heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their lives.”
At least 11 Turkish soldiers, including a corps commander, were martyred and two others injured as a military helicopter crashed in the eastern Bitlis province.
The contact with the Cougar-type military helicopter, which took off from the eastern Bingol province for the Tatvan district of Bitlis at 1.55 p.m. local time [1055GMT], was lost at 2.25 p.m. [1125GMT].