Turkish leader grieves with Azerbaijan over helicopter crash

14 soldiers killed, 2 soldiers injured when helicopter crashed in northeastern Khyzy region, say Azerbaijani authorities.

ANKARA (AA) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday expressed his condolences to the Azerbaijani people over a helicopter crash that claimed the lives of 14 soldiers and wounded two others.

In a phone call to Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, Erdogan wished Allah’s mercy for the lost soldiers, and extended his condolences to their families and the Azerbaijani people, according to a statement from Turkey’s Communications Directorate.

Various Turkish authorities also extended condolences to Azerbaijan over the incident, including a Foreign Ministry statement wishing Allah’s mercy on the lost soldiers and a swift recovery for the wounded.

Separately, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu spoke to his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov over the phone about the incident, diplomatic sources said.

On Twitter, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay also offered his condolences for the deadly crash.

An Azerbaijani border patrol helicopter Mi-17 crashed on Tuesday morning during a training mission, killing 14 soldiers – mainly officers – and injuring two others on board, said an official statement.

The helicopter crashed in the Garaeybat training range in the northeastern Khyzy region, said the State Border Service.

An investigation into the incident has been launched.

Aliyev also released a statement expressing his sympathy for the families and relatives of the soldiers who lost their lives.

Col. General Elchin Guliyev, the head of Azerbaijan’s State Border Service, said that under state law the crash victims will be given the status of “martyrs.”

At a news conference, Guliyev also said that there was “no external factor” in the helicopter crash, adding that the two injured soldiers are being treated at the hospital and their condition is stable.

“The pilot was one of our experienced pilots. The helicopter was almost new. It was recently serviced,” he said.

“The black box was found and is at the Chief Prosecutor’s Office. Investigations will reveal the cause of the accident. It’s impossible to say anything definite now. But we can say that there were no external factors.”


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