President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
has said all of Turkey’s intelligence agencies could be coordinated under the same roof, as he commented on the National Intelligence Agency’s (MİT) actions on the night of the July 15 failed coup attempt, believed to be masterminded by the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).
“All the intelligence agencies, the MİT, the police and the gendarmerie, can be coordinated under the same roof. There is a process to bring the police and the gendarmerie under the control of the Interior Ministry. Thus, we can coordinate intelligence under the same roof,” Erdoğan told state-run TRT television late on Aug. 4, adding that the aforementioned plan had already been presented to him.
“I will share and evaluate this with the Prime Minister [Binali Yıldırım]. We will discuss the steps to be taken,” he also said.
Previous reports stated that Turkey was planning to restructure the MİT after the failed coup attempt, amid criticisms against its shortcomings during the failed takeover. The move will involve splitting the MİT so that foreign espionage and domestic counter-intelligence work are handled by different entities.
A new “Coordination of Intelligence” unit responsible for coordinating between the two units will reportedly be formed under the Presidency, which will also conduct intelligence analysis.
The police and the gendarmerie will in the future report to the Interior Ministry and not the military.
Saying that the intelligence agency was not one that could be “corroded,” Erdoğan added there were no countries in the world which didn’t have intelligence shortcomings.
“I’ve always said from the beginning [of the failed coup attempt] that there was an intelligence shortcoming. However, is there a country in the world that doesn’t have it? Take the U.S., Russia, Europe, Germany, France, England, etc. for instance. You’ll see that in the terror attacks in all those countries there were intelligence failures,” he also said.
There has been huge pressure on MİT chief Hakan Fidan in the wake of the failed takeover, particularly following reports he learned about the planned putsch hours before the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government was informed.
During his interview, Erdoğan also said that repeatedly criticizing the MİT for its actions during the failed takeover would be harmful to the agency.
“If we repeatedly criticize the MİT on TV programs, we will make it non-operational,” he said, referring to critical remarks about the MİT and Fidan made by him and AKP members.
Repeating his previous remarks on being in a “transition period,” Erdoğan said, “One doesn’t change horses halfway down the road.”
“We need to get through this process successfully,” he added.
Erdoğan also mentioned his inability to contact the MİT on July 15 as the coup attempt was unfolding, saying he wished he could have spoken to the agency.
“Me not being able to contact the MİT can be caused by the conditions that they were in. They are also saying that. They reached the manager of my guards. They asked him, ‘Is there a problem where you are now?’ I was resting at the time. I wish I could have contacted them,” he also said.