Erdogan expresses condolences to families of slain Turkish soldiers
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed condolences on Saturday to families of 12 Turkish soldiers who were killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan on Friday, Today's Zaman reported.
A Turkish military helicopter crashed into a house near the Afghan capital Friday, killing 12 Turkish soldiers on board and four Afghan civilians on the ground.
It was by far the deadliest incident involving Turkish soldiers in Afghanistan, where they have a noncombat role.
Erdogan called families of 12 Turkish soldiers, and expressed his condolences. He also had canceled his visit to Germany after the helicopter crash. The bodies of the soldiers were sent to Turkey after a funeral at the Kabul Regional Command earlier on Saturday.
The helicopter, a Sikorsky, was on a mission for US-led NATO forces when it went down near Kabul, the Turkish military said in a statement.
The crash was the deadliest in Afghanistan for NATO forces since August, when 30 American troops died when a Chinook helicopter was apparently shot down in Wardak province in the center of the country.
Turkey has about 1,800 troops in Afghanistan and leads NATO operations in Kabul province. The force has suffered relatively few casualties because of its noncombat role.
In 2009, two Turkish soldiers, one of them a colonel, were killed in a traffic accident in northern Afghanistan.