I tried to talk to intel chief on coup attempt night but I couldn't reach: Erdoğan
AP photoTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said he failed to contact the intelligence chief, Hakan Fidan, on the coup attempt night, but he could not manage it, raising questions over an intel failure.
"I called my intel chief that night but I could not reach," Erdoğan said in an interview with Reuters late on July 21.
Erdoğan narrowly escaped an atttack on the hotel where he was staying on July 15 before the coup attempt failed.
In his first interview since declaring a state of emergency following the abortive coup, Erdoğan said a new coup attempt was possible but would not be easy, saying "we are more vigilant".
"It is very clear that there were significant gaps and deficiencies in our intelligence, there is no point trying to hide it or deny it. I told it to the head of national intelligence," Erdogan told Reuters in his palace in Ankara, which was targeted during the coup attempt.
He said there was no obstacle to extending the state of emergency beyond the initial three months if necessary.
Erdoğan said the movement of U.S.-based scholar Fethullah Gülen, who he blames for masterminding the attempt to seize power, would be treated as "another separatist terrorist organisation", drawing a parallel to the state's fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants over the past three decades.
"We will continue the fight ... wherever they might be. These people have infiltrated the state organisation in this country and they rebelled against the state," he said, calling the actions of the July 15 night "inhuman" and "immoral".
He said the death toll had risen to 246 people excluding the coup plotters and that 2,185 people were wounded. Soldiers used fighters jets, military helicopters and tanks to strike institutions including parliament, the intelligence agency and Erdoğan's palace in violence in Istanbul and Ankara on July 15.