The Turkish army’s top generals were informed of last week’s coup by the country’s National Intelligence Organization, known locally as the MIT, hours before it was initiated Friday, a statement by the army said on July 19 according to national newspaper Hurriyet.
The statement begins by describing the events that took place on July 15 and labeling those behind it as “terrorist traitors who are members of an illegal gang."
A majority within the military were able to suppress the coup attempt due to information provided by the MIT some five hours before the coup plot became public, reads the statement.
“The information given by the National Intelligence Organization on July 15, 2016, at around 4:00 p.m. was evaluated at the General Staff headquarters with the attendance of Chief of Staff General Hulusi Akar, Chief of the Army General Salih Zeki Colak and Deputy Chief of Staff General Yasar Guler."
In order to counter the coup, high ranking officials within the Turkish army gave orders for all air and ground forces around the country to immediately cease operations including military vehicles such as tanks, planes and helicopters.
A report by Al Jazeera Arabic suggests the coup plotters initiated the operation six hours ahead of time as they had previously planned to launch the coup at 3:00 a.m. local time on July 16.
While the report does not indicate the reason for the coup being initiated ahead of time, the revelation by the military suggests the coup plotters understood their plans had been compromised and decided to act.
Reports also suggest the coup plotters had orders to kidnap or kill President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as helicopters headed toward the hotel he was staying in at the holiday resort of Marmaris. But Erdogan had left 44 minutes before they arrived, according to Al Jazeera’s report.
The government, now empowered by a state-of-emergency after the coup, have launched a major purge within several state institutions including the army, police, judiciary and most recently the education sector.
On Tuesday the education ministry cancelled licenses for more than 25,000 teachers just days after more than 8,000 police officers were suspended on suspicion of having links to the coup attempt. So far some 6,000 members of the judiciary and military, including generals, have been detained.
The government claims the coup and the generals behind it are loyal followers of U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, who was once Erdogan’s key ally before a major fallout in 2012. However, no evidence has been presented to back up the claims.