HAKKARI, Turkey (AP) _ A military helicopter went down in southeastern Turkey on Saturday, killing 15 soldiers, and Kurdish rebels claimed responsibility, according to news reports.

The Germany-based pro-Kurdish DEM news agency said Kurdish rebels down the helicopter, which it identified as a U.S.-made Sikorsky, which is often used to transport troops.

Turkish authorities said the helicopter was on a reconnaissance mission and went down for unknown reasons, killing the 15 soldiers, the Anatolia news agency reported.

Kurdish rebels have been fighting for autonomy in southeastern Turkey since 1984, and have downed Turkish military helicopters in the past. The conflict has claimed 37,000 lives.