By Humeyra Pamuk
ANKARA (Reuters) - Two Turkish warplanes crashed during a training exercise on Tuesday in the central Turkish province of Malatya, killing all four crew, the military said.
Contact was lost with the RF-4E reconnaissance aircraft after they took off from Malatya air base on Tuesday evening for planned night training, a statement on the Chief of Staff's website said.
"Search operations were immediately started. At 2045 the wreckage of our two planes was discovered and unfortunately four pilots have been martyred," the statement added. No reason for the crashes was given.
The planes came down in Akcadag district, more than 150 km (90 miles) north of the Syrian border, a military source told Reuters.
Turkey has the second largest armed forces in NATO and in recent years its fighter jets have played an active role in patrolling its troubled borders with neighboring Iraq and Syria. In 2012 the Syrian air force shot down a Turkish F-4 over the Mediterranean.
(Reporting by Seyhmus Cakan, Humeyra Pamuk and Orhan Coskun; writing by Jonny Hogg; editing by Andrew Roche)