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ISTANBUL: Nine Turkish soldiers were killed and four wounded when their military helicopter crashed Thursday in heavy weather in the country’s restive southeast, the defence ministry said.

Television images from the crash site showed the ground blanketed in snow and visibility hampered by thick clouds in the mountainous region.

Ruling AKP party lawmaker Tolga Agar, who sits on parliament’s defence committee, tweeted that Lieutenant General Osman Erbas was among the dead.

Erbas is officially listed as the head of the Turkish army’s 8th Corps.

The defence ministry did not immediately confirm the senior commander’s death in a statement which said contact with the helicopter was lost in the Bitlis province 30 minutes after it took off.—AFP

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