Highlighted excerpts from Erdogan’s interview with al-Jazeera
On how he found out about the coup attempt: “It was my brother-in-law who gave me first the news. Initially my reaction was disbelief … I had a conversation with the head of the national intelligence agency, I was already with the minister of energy on site and we decided to take a number of steps. One of the first steps involved my family and me taking a helicopter from where we were to Dalaman, and from Dalaman to come to Istanbul by plane.
On arriving in Istanbul: “When we arrived in Istanbul, of course there were some difficult moments there as well … We had F-16 jets flying in low altitude, faster than the speed of sound; that was of course an effort to instill fear in the hearts of tens of thousands of people who were assembled there, and then we sat down with a number of colleagues in positions of authority and we planned the aftermath, what was going to follow.”
On potential foreign involvement in the failed coup: “There might be other countries involved as well; the Gulenist terror organisation also has another superior mind, if you will, and a time will come when those connections will be deciphered. We have to be patient … But I don’t think it will take long. The judiciary is acting and I think all of those connections will come to the light of day.”
On critics accusing him of a media crackdown: “I have never been against media; there have been numerous insults and libels against me and my family and those outlets are still broadcasting. But in this incident even they said they were on the side of the president, because [a pro-coup] direction would doom them and be the end of them.”
On reinstating the death penalty: “If parliament makes that decision, then the duty of the authorities in power is to pave the way for this punishment to be reintroduced. The people have voiced this demand. They took to the streets and kept saying ‘capital punishment, capital punishment, capital punishment.'”