TURKEY

372 Turkish soldiers hospitalized in western Turkey

372 TURKISH SOLDIERS HOSPITALIZED IN WESTERN TURKEY

A total of 372 soldiers were hospitalized here late Saturday after being "affected by food", Defense Minister Fikri Işık said early Sunday.

Işık said 590 soldiers were affected and 372 were taken to hospitals.

"Now there are 72 soldiers (left) at the hospitals. No one is in life threatening condition," he said at a news conference following a visit with soldiers at Merkezefendi State Hospital.Işık was accompanied by Commander of Turkish Land Forces Gen. Zeki Çolak.

"There is no soldier in intensive care," Işık added.

Manisa Governor Mustafa Hakan Güvencer told Anadolu Agency earlier in the day that it is too early to consider poisoning as a cause after soldiers complained about vomiting and nausea.

"We cannot make an official statement now about the reason of the disease and diagnosis, we are waiting for laboratory results," Güvencer said.

Police on Sunday arrested 19 employees, including executives, of the catering company that provides food to the military post where the incident occurred, police source told Anadolu Agency.

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