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Turkish warplane crashes near airport in southeast

Update: December, 13/2016 - 11:00

DIYARBAKIR —  A Turkish fighter jet crashed near an airport in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir on Monday, the military said, but the pilot was able to safely eject from the plane.

The cause of the crash was not immediately known but the government said an investigation had been launched.

The F-16 warplane was on its way to an air base in Diyarbakir during a training mission when it fell in a village nearby, the armed forces said on its website.

Before the crash, the pilot escaped using the ejector seat, the military added.

The armed forces said the pilot was in "good health" after the crash at 7.30pm (1630 GMT).

The warplane crashed five kilometres (3.1 miles) from the air base next to the airport, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told reporters in Ankara late Monday.

He said the cause would be known "shortly" after an investigation but did not want to speculate.

Diyabakir is Turkey’s biggest Kurdish-majority city and has seen regular clashes between Kurdish militants and security forces since the collapse of a two-and-a-half year ceasefire in the conflict in July 2015.

The base has been used previously for air raids on Islamic State jihadist targets inside Syria and against outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) bases in northern Iraq.

The PKK has been waging an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984 and is proscribed as a terror group by Ankara, the United States and the European Union, but not by the United Nations. — AFP


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