President decries intelligence failures ahead of coup attempt and promises swift military restructure

The European Union has expressed its concern at Turkeys decision to impose a three-month state of emergency as the countrys president revealed the armed forces would quickly be restructured and get fresh blood.

We are following the developments regarding the state of emergency Turkey has declared after the attempted coup, which the European Union condemned, very closely and with concern, said a statement issued by the blocs foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini, and enlargement commissioner, Johannes Hahn.

This declaration comes in the wake of the recent unacceptable decisions on the education system, judiciary and the media … we call on Turkish authorities to respect under any circumstances the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right of all individuals concerned to a fair trial, the strongly worded statement added.

Turkeys president, Recep Tayyip Erdoan, told Reuters on Thursday there were significant failures in intelligence before last Fridays attempted military coup and that the armed forces would quickly be restructured and get fresh blood.

In his first interview since declaring a state of emergency following the abortive coup, Erdoan 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, Erdoan said in his palace in Ankara, which was targeted during the coup attempt.

Pro-government supporters protest on Istanbuls Bosphorus bridge late on Thursday. Photograph: Petros Giannakouris/AP

Erdogan accuses Fethullah Gulen, a charismatic US-based cleric, of masterminding the plot, which crumbled early on Saturday. In the roundup, more than 60,000 soldiers, police, judges, civil servants and teachers were suspended, detained or placed under investigation.

Erdoan said a meeting of the Supreme Military Council (Yas), the organisation overseeing the armed forces, scheduled for 1 August, might 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, Erdoan 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.

Erdoan, the most dominant 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.

He looked calm and composed throughout the interview, but security was heightened inside and around his vast palace complex, with police special forces in the gardens and city dump trucks blocking access roads at impromptu checkpoints.

The lights at the palace, which usually illuminate the night sky, have been dimmed in recent days.

Erdoan said there was no obstacle to extending the state of emergency beyond the initial three months if necessary. It would allow his government to take swift measures against supporters of the coup and would permit the president and cabinet to bypass parliament in enacting new laws and to limit or suspend rights and freedoms as they deem necessary.

This state of emergency is not a curfew. People will still be on the street minding their own business and getting on with daily life, he said.

Gulen movement two-faced

Erdoan said the Gulen movement would be treated as another separatist terrorist organisation, drawing a parallel with the states fight against Kurdish 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 Friday night inhuman and immoral.

He compared the Gulen movement to a malignant cancer in the body that could spread and return if not eliminated.

We will do everything necessary to have the highest rate of success. Whatever the law allows or admits, he said, adding that his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had at one stage helped the Gulen movement but had been betrayed.

We never considered even the possibility that they might be involved in this kind of a treason … We supported them to the fullest as citizens of our country, he said.

They are traitors … They have always been two-faced, if you want, and now we see their real face very clearly.

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 Erdoans palace in Fridays violence in Istanbul and Ankara.

The authorities have said they will seek the extradition of Gulen, who has denounced the coup attempt and denied any involvement, suggesting it may have been staged by Erdoan as an excuse to crack down on the religious movement.

The putsch and the purge that has followed have rattled the country of 80 million, a Nato member bordering Syria, Iraq and Iran, and a western ally in the fight against Isis.

The Turkish president said a cut in Turkeys foreign currency credit rating by Standard & Poors had been a political decision and showed the rating agency had sided with the coup, not with democracy.

He added that if fellow rating agency Moodys followed suit, it would not be an objective decision. He said there was no liquidity problem in Turkeys strong financial sector.

Agence France-Presse contributed to this report

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Turkey state of emergency worries EU as Erdoan promises ‘fresh blood’ in military
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