Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has described the July 15 coup plotters as “sick terrorists” during a Saturday appearance on Turkish television.
Speaking on A Haber and NTV, Turkey’s private TV channels, Yildirim said the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) did not hesitate to use Islam to justify the bloody coup attempt.
“These people are terrorists but also they are sick terrorists because they abuse Islam,” he said.
The premier said that the coup was well-planned and if the attempt had succeeded, FETO members would have been appointed to key roles in Turkey.
“Their cadres’ lists for Turkey’s high-ranking positions were already written,” Yildirim said.
Yildirim repeated a revelation by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that one of the coup soldiers who held Turkey’s chief-of-staff hostage on July 15 told Gen. Hulusi Akar to call Fetullah Gulen.
Turkish PM however, added that Akar had refused to speak with Gulen while being detained.
Yildirim said Turkey’s National Intelligence Service (MIT) had warned the country's military hours before Friday's coup attempt.
The MIT had supplied intelligence to the Turkish Armed Forces but the measures had not been taken, Yildirim said. “Even our commander of the Turkish Armed Forces was taken hostage, and that part is very worrying.”
The coup attempt was not reported to Yildirim and the prime minister said he is still wondering why nobody informed him of the deadly attack.
“I'm still looking for the answer to this question,” he said.
During his interview, he said he and the government had been trying since 2013 to tell the military how dangerous FETO is: “We were trying to explain to them -- the Turkish army -- how serious they are. But they did not heed our advice.”
While on air, Yildirim revealed the latest detention figures.
“With the count complete, the figures are as follows: 13,000 suspects have been taken into custody, including 1,329 police officers, more than 8,831 soldiers, 2,100 judicial members, 52 district governors and 689 civilians,” he said.
He added that 5,837 suspects out of 13,001 detainees have been charged with having links to the coup attempt.
Turkey's government has repeatedly said the deadly plot on July 15, which martyred at least 246 people and injured more than 2,100 others, was organized by followers of U.S.-based preacher Fetullah Gulen.
Gulen is also accused of a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary, forming what is commonly known as the ‘parallel state’.
* Hatice Kesgin contributed to this report from Ankara.
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