A crash of an army helicopter in southeastern Turkey has claimed the lives of at least eleven soldiers.

Two of them died in hospital after being taken there with two other injured people.

The accident happened in Bitlis province, the Turkish Ministry of Defense reported.

It was a Cougar helicopter with which contact was lost half an hour after take-off.

The wreck was found after a search using drones, among other things.

Among the dead is a lieutenant general.

The EU, the US and NATO have expressed their condolences to the ally.

The military wing of the banned Kurdish party PKK claims to have shot the plane, Kurdish media report.

Turkey is an accident.

TV images of the crash site show that visibility is very poor in the mountainous region due to the harsh weather.

The Turkish Armed Forces have been conducting military operations against Kurdish militias in the southeast of the country for years.

In 2017, an army helicopter crashed in the southeastern province of Sirnak, killing 13 soldiers.