ADDS MORE CONDOLENCE MESSAGES
By Havva Kara Aydin, Muhammet Tarhan and Muhammet Ikbal Arslan
ANKARA (AA) – Condolences poured in from around the world after 11 Turkish soldiers, including a senior officer, were martyred in a helicopter crash in eastern Turkey on Thursday.
In an earlier statement, the ministry said nine soldiers lost their lives and four soldiers were injured in the crash.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg phoned Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to convey his condolences over the deaths of the soldiers, said a diplomatic source.
Stoltenberg stressed that NATO is in solidarity with Turkey.
Libya’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Taher Siala also offered his condolences to Cavusoglu in a phone call.
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,” Britain’s ambassador to Turkey, Dominick Chilcott, 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 his 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 the injured soldiers.
– ‘Deeply saddening event’
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.”
Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili said on Twitter: "@RTErdogan, my sincere condolences to you and to the people of Turkey over the crash of a military helicopter that has cost too many lives. This is a deeply saddening event and we stand with the families of those who lost their lives."
Georgia’s Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani said: “I express my deepest condolences to our friendly Turkey over the crash of the helicopter in the town of Tatvan. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this tragedy and with all those who have lost their loved ones.”
He also wished a quick recovery to the wounded soldiers.
Meanwhile, Somalia’s Justice Minister Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur also took to Twitter to extend his condolences.
"I sadly learned that a helicopter belonging to the friendly and brotherly Turkish army had crashed. The pain of the Turkish brothers is our pain too. I wish mercy from Allah to the martyrs who lost their lives,” he said.
Turkish Cypriot President Ersin Tatar phoned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to offer his condolences over the soldiers who lost their lives in the crash, the TRNC presidency said in a statement.
Albania’s Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Olta Xhacka, Turkish Cypriot Tourism and Environment Minister Fikri Ataoglu and Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertugruloglu also conveyed their condolences to Mevlut Cavusoglu over the incident.
Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov expressed sorrow over the crash and conveyed his condolences to the families and loved ones of the martyrs as well as the people of Turkey and wished a speedy recovery for the injured.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza expressed his country’s solidarity with the people and government of Turkey, sharing a photo of a Turkish flag on Twitter.
Baghdad Amreyev, secretary-general of the Turkic Council, said that with great sadness they received news of the crash.
"On behalf of the Turkic Council and myself, I wish Allah’s mercy upon the soldiers who lost their lives in this tragic accident, condolences to their families and brotherly Turkish nation, and wish a recovery to the wounded," Amreyev added.
At least 11 Turkish soldiers, including a corps commander, were martyred and two others injured as a military helicopter crashed in eastern Bitlis province.
Contact with the Cougar-type military helicopter, which took off from Bingol for Tatvan district in Bitlis at 1.55 p.m. local time (1055GMT), was lost at 2.25 p.m. (1125GMT).