Helicopter crash kills 13 Turkish troops near Iraq border

A helicopter of the Turkish army brings back Turkish prisoners over the Habur border crossing, in Sirnak, on the Turkish side, on March 13, 2013 after they were released by the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) in the northern Iraqi city of Dohuk.

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ANKARA, Turkey -- A Turkish military helicopter crashed Wednesday near Turkey's border with Iraq, killing all 13 personnel on board, the military said. 

The crash occurred in the border province of Sirnak, where Turkish troops are engaged in operations against Kurdish militants. But a military statement said the crash appeared to be accidental, with initial information indicating that the AS 532 Cougar had hit a high-voltage transmission line shortly after taking off from a base in Sirnak's Senoba region. 

The military didn't provide information on the victims. The private DHA news agency, however, said the helicopter was carrying a delegation, headed by a major-general, which was inspecting the Senoba region. Other media reports said there were six other officers on board. 

The helicopter crashed at 8:55 p.m., the military said, adding that an investigation was underway. 

Defense Minister Fikri Isik and other government ministers immediately left the capital, Ankara, for Sirnak, DHA reported.