Turkey: State ceremony held for martyrs from crash
State, military funerals held for 11 soldiers martyred in helicopter crash
The 11 Turkish soldiers martyred by a helicopter crash were honored by state and military funeral services on Friday.
Besides the martyred soldiers, including one corps commander, two other soldiers were injured when a military helicopter crashed in the eastern Bitlis province on Thursday.
Contact with the Cougar-type military helicopter, which took off from Bingol for the Tatvan district of Bitlis at 1.55 p.m. local time (1055GMT), was lost at 2.25 p.m. (1125GMT).
The state ceremony was held in Ahmet Hamdi Akseki Mosque in the capital Ankara for 8th Corps Commander Lt. Gen. Osman Erbas, Technical Sgt. Nazmi Yilmaz, Col. Senturk Aydinyer, Cpt. Salih Sarioglu, Chief Master Sgt. Mehmet Demir, Master Sgt. Omer Umulu, Cpt. Tayfun Kures and Gokhan Uysal, Staff Sgt. Sukru Karadirek, and Specialized Sgts. Tolga Demirci and Hakan Gul.
The funeral prayers were performed following the Friday prayers.
Speaking at the ceremony, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wished patience for the families of the deceased and conveyed his condolences.
Erdogan remembered Erbas with gratitude, saying he was a very humble person.
The service was also attended by Parliament Speaker Mustafa Sentop, Vice President Fuat Oktay, political party leaders, as well as ministers, commanders, and officials.
Bodies of Erbas, Aydinyer, Sarioglu, Kures, and Uysal will be buried in Ankara, while Karadirek will be laid to rest in the western Afyonkarahisar province later in the day.
Other martyrs will be sent to their hometowns to be buried on Saturday.
Before the state ceremony, a military funeral was held in the eastern Elazig province with the attendance of National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Guler, Deputy Interior Minister Ismail Catakli, Elazig Governor Erkaya Yirik, Bingol Governor Kadir Ekinci, other commanders, families of the martyrs, and officials.
Following the funeral, the bodies of the martyrs were sent to Ankara for the state ceremony.