“Our teams have informed us that we have lost seven heroes, two of them are the pilots,” Süleyman Soylu told reporters in the eastern province.
The plane crashed at an altitude of 2,200 meters (7218 feet) on Mount Artos, Soylu added.
The aircraft took off from Van Ferit Melen Airport at 6.35 p.m. local time (1535GMT).
The 2015 model-plane was missioned for reconnaissance and surveillance in Van and Hakkari provinces since Monday, said Soylu.
He said the pilots contacted the tower for the last time when they were around Başkale district at 10.32 p.m. (1932GMT).
At around 10.45 p.m. (1945GMT), radar and communication were completely stopped, he added.
Soylu later arrived in the region where the plane crashed.
According to the General Directorate of Security, the names of the dead are as follows:
Police superintendent Gökhun Mete Altunbaş, sub-inspector Samet Üstüner, sub-inspector Irfan Aydoğan, sub-inspector Semih Güzelay, police officer Mustafa Keskin, police officer Onur Ramazan Bayram and police officer Burak
Derya. Altunbaş and Üstüner were the pilots of the plane, while Keskin was the flight technician.
2 special forces killed in Siirt
Meanwhile, two special police forces personnel were killed in southeastern Siirt province, the Turkish Interior Ministry said on July 16.
The ministry said the pair died at a hospital after sustaining injuries during an anti-terror operation July 15 in the Pervari District of Siirt.
Four special police forces personnel were injured during the operation.
Two of the injured were taken to Şırnak Military Hospital.
Hurriyet Daily News