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Turkey’s Chair on Intelligence: Army Purged, many Putsch Linked Generals Dismissed | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Turkey’s Chair on Security and Intelligence Ilser, Asharq Al-Awsat

Turkey’ Committee Chair on Security and Intelligence Emrullah Ilser confirmed that his country has fully overcome the ‘first shock’ caused by the 15 July failed coup. The top official revealed that measures and adjustments will be carried out within his committee, after intelligence having failed in predicting the abortive putsch.

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper Ilser says that at least over half of the army’s military have been released from duty and forced to step down from their post. He also stressed that the hierarchical reconstruction of the military institution is in progress in transforming the Turkish national army into a democratic institution.

Ilser also spoke about his believes that the Fethullah Gulen’s movement might exist in Turkey, however, is led from the U.S. –where the preacher Gulen is based – with members all across Africa and Asia.

When speaking on the night of the putsch attempt, Ilser states that no prior predictions were made on a personal level. But the intelligence official felt at ease throughout the event, mentioning that despite army members taking tanks to the streets and cutting of streets in Ankara and Istanbul the people were also present which was a source of comfort.

Ilser says that the coup attempt was first confirmed to him by the prime minister, who at the time was trying to return to Ankara from Istanbul by land.

Elaborating on his outstanding ‘calm’ during the coup attempt, Ilser chiefly sounded the strong will of the Turkish people who had overcome several coup attempts orchestrated by the army to take down their democracy.

Ilser still expressed the sole true discomfort and regret at the night of the aborted coup, was that for the first time Turkey’s parliament and presidential quarters were being attacked and that for the first time the national artillery and air power –sponsored by tax payers’ money- were being directed at the people themselves.

When asked on whether a true threat of civil war was posed had the putsch succeeded, Ilser said that Turkey has long been targeted by many conspiracies aiming to spur civil war within. He also said that the recent coup attempt, had it been successful, might have delivered the country to an unfortunate state of strife.

Despite predicting that the attempts on Turkey’s security and national solidarity will continue, Ilser says that the stances and actions showcased by the ruling bloc –President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s administration – and the people will foil any plot against the nation.

Moreover, Ilser admitted to the intelligence’s short coming on discovering and preventing the coup attempt, saying that a responsive reassessment of the whole intelligence body will be made. The review was also confirmed by both President Erdogan and Prime Minister Yildirim.

The coup attempt was a great insult to the national army institution which serves the country and people, said Ilser. Defending that view, many chiefs and commanders in all army divisions had denounced the putsch.

Ilser highlighted that all politicians, in their post-coup attempt speeches, had specifically defended the national army saying that it was only a defector small group responsible for the wrongdoing.

However, certain measures have been taken to review the function the army works according to Ilser said that the national institution had an administrative shift, going from the direct management of the military’s Commander-in-chief to the ministry of defense. The political bloc, the minister of defense and undersecretaries, have a greater and more influential role on directing army performance.

Talking about the crackdown on the army, which had witnessed the mass dismissal of officials, Ilser reiterated that most of those affected by the ‘purge’ were affiliated with Gulen’s terror organization.

According to Ilser the new 200 army generals are sufficient and apt, saying that the former 360 generals, was too large of a number.

As for the stream of Turkish accusations pointed on U.S. involvement in plotting the putsch, Ilser referred to the fact that the main orchestrator, Gulen, currently resides in the U.S.

Ilser also says that, after dealing with many coup attempts, it is evident that in every coup attempt an accompanying foreign support must be present.