New footage taken during the July 15, 2016, failed coup attempt has emerged, showing the moment coup soldiers watched President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s defiant speech on TV at a joint operations center in Ankara.
The footage, which was included in the file of the case into coup activities at the Turkish General Staff headquarters, shows worried-looking coup soldiers listening to the president’s speech carefully.
As the coup bid was still underway on the night of July 15, Erdoğan sent his first live message to private broadcaster CNN Türk from a hotel in a FaceTime interview, calling on citizens to hit the streets and resist the coup attempt, widely believed to have been masterminded by the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).
According to the recently-emerged footage, Col. Osman Kardal arrived at the joint operations center at 9:39 p.m. on July 15 and subsequently gave a speech to the personnel there.
At 10:39 p.m., reports of Istanbul bridges being blocked by coup soldiers start to circulate on TV channels, and Captain Sedat Kıran, Maj. Fatih Koç, Lt. Col. Recep Yıldız, Col. Armağan Ustael, Maj. Erhan Metin, Brig. Gen. Alpaslan Çetin and Kardal watch the news around a table, the footage also showed.
Coup soldiers are seen calm and relaxed while watching the statement from the coup plotters being aired on the state-run TRT at 12:13 a.m. on July 16.
But the relaxed mood in the joint operations center starkly changes when 11 minutes later, at 12:24 a.m., Erdoğan gives an interview to Hande Fırat on CNN Türk, prompting worry and attention.
Meanwhile, in an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım criticized the administration of the U.S. President Donald Trump for asking for more evidence to extradite the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, the alleged mastermind of the attempted takeover.
When asked about whether Ankara expected Washington to extradite Gülen when former White House national security advisor Michael Flynn wrote an article defending to do so, Yıldırım said “we did.”
“We expected that this would happen, but as time went by, we saw that there wasn’t any signal regarding an extradition taking place,” Yıldırım told Zakaria, denying allegations that Flynn assured Turkish authorities that Gülen would be sent to Turkey.
“We are not dealing with Michael Flynn, we are dealing with the government of the United States,” he also said, adding that the Turkish Justice Ministry was and still is in communication with the U.S. Attorney General to establish progress on Gülen’s extradition.
Yıldırım was also asked about claims that the files sent by Turkey for the extradition are “not conclusive and strong,” to which he replied by saying that the U.S. wasn’t asked for more evidence regarding al-Qaeda being behind the September 11 attacks.
“When President [George] Bush announced that the U.S. was under attack, Turkey was the first country to offer help and send its army to Afghanistan. We didn’t ask who was behind the attack. The U.S. said, ‘al-Qaeda is behind the attack and is responsible.’ Nobody asked the U.S., ‘Is there any evidence that al-Qaeda did so?’” he added.