Turkey explosion kills 25 soldiers
An explosion at an ammunition depot in the west of Turkey has killed 25 soldiers, officials said today.
Forestry minister Veysel Eroglu said the blast occurred last night at a section of the facility where hand grenades were kept. The soldiers’ remains were discovered early today after a blaze caused by the blast was extinguished.
Mr Eroglu ruled out a terrorist attack and said the cause of the incident, in Afyonkarahisar province, was accidental. “It was probably caused after a hand grenade was dropped,” he told reporters at the scene.
Mr Eroglu said some unexploded hand grenades were found strewn around the storage facility after the explosion and authorities are working to defuse them.
Turkey’s NTV television station showed security officers searching for unexploded ammunition.
Families of conscripts serving at the facility rushed to the area after hearing news of the explosions. Many broke into tears after the deaths were reported, NTV said. Some remains were sent to the capital, Ankara, for DNA tests so they could be identified.
Many civilians were evacuated from the nearby town overnight, with authorities warning people to stay away from the area.
In 1997, an explosion at Turkey’s largest weapons factory in the central Kirikkale province killed two people and sparked a fire that raged for days.