March 5, 2015 / 9:39 AM / 3 years ago

Turkish fighter jet crashes during training flight, two dead: military

ANKARA (Reuters) - A Turkish warplane has crashed near the central Anatolian city of Konya, killing the two pilots aboard, the military said on Thursday, in the second fatal air accident for Turkey’s armed forces in less than two weeks.

The F-4E took off from Eskisehir airbase on a planned training flight at 0900 local time, and came down nearly an hour later, the Chief of Staff said in a statement.

“It crashed in Konya, for unknown reasons. The two pilots are dead. An investigation into the causes of the accident has been started,” the statement said.

An inquiry is already under way to discover why two training jets went down in Malatya Province on Feb. 24, killing four.

Turkey has the second largest military in NATO and its airforce has played an active role in patrolling its troubled borders with Syria and Iraq.

However, Ankara has so far declined to take a direct role in U.S.-led bombing raids against Islamic State, citing security concerns and a disagreement over strategy.

Reporting by Tulay Karadeniz, writing by Jonny Hogg; Editing by Ece Toksabay and Crispian Balmer

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