Duvar English

Seven police officers were killed after their reconnaissance plane crashed in a mountain in the eastern province of Van, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said early July 16.

“Our teams have informed us that we have lost seven heroes, two of them are the pilots,” Soylu told reporters, adding that the plane crashed at an altitude of 2,200 feet (670 metres) on Mount Artos.

The 2015 model-plane had been carrying out reconnaissance and surveillance in Van and Hakkari provinces since July 13, said Soylu.

The aircraft took off from Van Ferit Melen Airport at 6.35 p.m. local time. The minister said the pilots contacted the tower for the last time when they were around the Başkale district at 10.32 p.m. At around 10.45 p.m., radar and communication were completely lost, he added.

Soylu later arrived in the region where the plane crashed.

Police superintendent Gökhun Mete Altunbaş, sub-inspector Samet Üstüner, sub-inspector İrfan Aydoğan, sub-inspector Semih Güzelay, police officer Mustafa Keskin, police officer Onur Ramazan Bayram and police officer Burak Derya were killed in the crash.

Altunbaş and Üstüner were the pilots of the plane, while Keskin was the flight technician.

Two police officers killed in anti-PKK op

Separately, two police officers were killed in the eastern province of Siirt during an operation against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Funeral ceremonies of Anıl Kemal Kurtul and Muhammed Demir were held on July 16.