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Turkey Helicopter Crash Kills 17 Troops In Southeastern Part Of Country

Authorities say 17 soldiers were killed Saturday when a military helicopter crashed in southeastern Turkey.

According to CNN News, the Sikorsky-type helicopter, which was carrying soldiers to a military operation against Kurdish terror organization PKK, crashed in a mountainous area in the Pervari district, in Turkey’s southeastern Siirt province.

President Abdullah Gul said the incident would not deter Turkey from its determination to fight the rebels.

Siirt Governor Ahmet Aydin said that a heavy fog may have hindered the chopper pilot’s vision and ultimately led to the tragic accident.

“The weather during the transportation was bad. There was extreme rain. The helicopter crashed into rocks because of the fog,” Aydin said. “The incident was the result of a crash, and any kind of attack is out of the question.”

According to the Times of Malta, PKK militants have been fighting in Turkey since the 1980s as they seek more rights for Kurds, including autonomy in the mostly Kurdish south-east of the country.

In the past three days, Turkish jets and helicopters have pounded PKK positions along the border with Iraq and Iran, killing 42 militants.

More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict between Turkey and the PKK since 1984.