ANKARA, Turkey — A Turkish military helicopter carrying soldiers on a mission against Kurdish rebels crashed in heavy fog on Saturday, killing 17 people, Turkish media reported.
Authorities were investigating the cause of the crash in a mountainous part of Pervari district in Siirt province, where the rebel Kurdistan Workers' Party is active.
The provincial governor, Ahmet Aydin, said 13 soldiers and four crewmembers were killed, according to Anadolu news agency.
State-run TRT television said the troops were conducting an operation against Kurdish rebels who have escalated attacks in recent months. The guerrillas have been fighting since the 1980s, and they seek more rights for Kurds, including autonomy in the mostly Kurdish southeast of the country. Turkey and the West categorize the rebels, known by the acronym PKK, as a terrorist group.
Several days ago, Turkish media reported that Turkish soldiers were airlifted into northern Iraq for a brief operation against suspected rebels, who have bases there. There were no reports of casualties on that mission. Turkey periodically carries out artillery and air strikes on PKK positions in northern Iraq, but reports of cross-border incursions by troops are rare.
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