Erdogan says military to be restructured
In his first interview since declaring a state of emergency following last Friday's abortive coup, Erdogan said a new coup attempt was possible, but would not be easy.
In his first interview since declaring a state of emergency following last Friday's abortive coup, Erdogan 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.
Erdogan accuses Fethullah Gulen, a charismatic U.S.-based cleric and former ally, of masterminding the plot, which crumbled early on Saturday. In a crackdown on Gulen's suspected followers, more than 60,000 soldiers, police, judges, civil servants and educators have been suspended, detained or placed under investigation.
Erdogan said a meeting of the Supreme Military Council (YAS), the top body overseeing the armed forces, which had been due on Aug. 1, may be brought forward by a week to oversee the restructuring. The Council is chaired by the prime minister, and includes the defence minister and the chief of staff.
"They are all working together as to what might be done, and ... within a very short amount of time a new structure will be emerging. With this new structure, I believe the armed forces will get fresh blood," Erdogan said.
"After all that has come to pass, I think they must now have drawn very important lessons. This is an ongoing process, we will never stop, we will continue very actively, we have plans."
Erdogan, the most dominant political figure on the Turkish stage since Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the modern republic, and who has had a winning streak of more than 10 election victories, has been at war with his former ally for several years.
Asked whether the abortive coup had derailed his plans to change the constitution and bolster his powers by making Turkey a full presidential system, he avoided a direct answer, but said a "more limited" package of constitutional amendments could be agreed with the opposition.
He said the fact that some of members of parliament had not voted in favour of the state of emergency, despite the difficulties in the country, was "food for thought", and showed the need for building consensus with opposition parties.
"If we can achieve consensus ... we might take it to the people in the form of a referendum", he said of a possible package on constitutional reforms.
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