The Turkish General Staff announced it has begun using the first domestically made Turkish attack helicopters in a counter-terrorism operation for the very first time.
Two ATAK helicopters flew on April 25 to the southeastern province of Siirt to join the 3rd Commando Brigade, the General Staff said in an announcement posted on its official webpage on May 4.
“National product ATAK helicopters have started serving in a zone of counter-terrorism operations for the first time. Starting from May 2015, these helicopters will also serve in the Şırnak, Hakkari and Van regions day and night,” the General Staff said in a statement titled “News from the Turkish Armed Forces [TSK].”
Turkey’s first locally co-manufactured assault helicopter was delivered to the TSK in June 2014, when three ATAK, T-129 attack helicopters, which were co-produced by Italy’s AgustaWestland and the Turkish Aerospace Industry (TAI), joined the army’s inventory.
The deployment of assault helicopters followed a deadly clash which took place in the eastern Anatolian province of Ağrı in April. The clash was a rare violation of a two-year de facto ceasefire.
Five outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants were killed and four Turkish soldiers were injured in Ağrı on April 11, after PKK militants opened fire on security forces, the military said in a statement at the time.
The PKK on April 13 denied that its militants had attacked first, while arguing only one civilian and one PKK militant were killed in the clashes.