World Bulletin/News Desk
Seventeen Turkish soldiers were killed on Saturday when their helicopter crashed in southeastern Turkey due to bad weather conditions, the area's governor said.
The Sikorsky helicopter crashed on Herekol mountain, in the Pervari area of Siirt province, Siirt Governor Ahmet Aydin said. The victims were members of gendarmerie special forces, he said.
The Turkish military has been carrying out operations on the mountain in recent months to flush out militants from outlawed separatist group the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) who have hideouts there.
Turkish jets and helicopters have pounded PKK positions along the border with Iraq and Iran for three days, killing 42 militants, Hakkari's governor said late on Friday.
"Today at 7:15 in the morning in the village of Bilgili around Siirt, we got 17 martyrs - officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers," Turkish President Abdullah Gul said in a statement.
Military officials reached the crash site and were taking the soldiers' bodies to the province's main city, Siirt.
Three teachers were kidnapped by PKK militants on Saturday near the Syrian border in Mardin province, security sources said.
Turkish General Staff has said that an investigation has been launched on the military helicopter crash.
A statement posted on the website of the General Staff said on Saturday that the reason of the crash would be determined within the scope of the investigation.
Last Mod: 10 Kasım 2012, 15:50