Turkish Official: Coup Leaders Moved Plans Forward Because of Threat to Their Positions

The coup leaders rushed their plot into action over concern that they risked losing positions of power in the military at a meeting of the Supreme Military Council next month,the presidential official tells Haaretz.

Image of rebel soldiers surrendering to pro-regime Turkish outside gendarmerie HQ in Ankara. July 16, 2016.
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In the aftermath of the crushing of the coup in Turkey, a Turkish official said on Saturday that there is a sense that those behind the attempted coup had been preparing for some time to overthrow the Turkish government.

They had planned, for example, which military officers would take over as governors and as the heads of government agencies, the official said, but moved their plans forward due to an upcoming meeting of the Supreme Military Council, which convenes every August to consider military appointments and retirements.

Those behind the coup were concerned that they would be removed from their positions at next month's meeting, the official said. The coup planners' immediate goal, the official added, was to seize control of key locations, such as a bridge over the Bosphorus and Taksim Square in Istanbul and key institutions in the capital, Ankara, including the presidential palace, parliament and the intelligence agency. They also attempted to take over communications infrastructure and actually managed to seize telecommunications facilities in some locations, the official said.

According to Turkish media, one of the key leaders in the failed coup was General Akin Öztürk, who in the 1990s was a Turkish military attache in Israel.