Qatar’s Al-Jazeera TV channel has obtained copies of messages sent between the organisers of the failed Turkish coup, which occurred in the late hours of Friday night.
The messages contain instructions regarding seizing power and declaring a state of emergency.
The messages reveal that three helicopters headed to the hotel where President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was staying in order to kill or arrest him.
Al-Jazeera received a copy of a series of messages exchanged by the coup leaders through WhatsApp. They reportedly created a group on the application to send and receive messages that included commands and responses.
The messages revealed that the actions were planned for 3am Turkish time, however this was brought forward and soldiers who were taking part in the coup attempt began taking control of key government buildings, bridges and airports at 9.30pm.
The leaked messages included evidence of the willingness of some police officers to join the coup. They confirmed that the authorities discovered the plot at 10pm, prompting coup leaders to send orders to soldiers to shoot at any security forces who resisted them.
Al-Jazeera bureau chief in Istanbul, Abdul Azim Mohamed, confirmed that three helicopters carrying 40 soldiers who belonged to the military’s Special Forces arrived at the hotel in Marmaris city in which Erdogan was staying to arrest or kill the president. Erdogan had already left on a private helicopter half an hour earlier. Presidential guards confronted the soldiers, a number of whom fled across the mountains after one of the helicopters crashed.
The Al-Jazeera journalist said that the commander of the gendarmerie in Bursa, Colonel Muharrem Kose, was arrested three hours after the attempted coup.
He had a list of more than 80 figures who were supposed to run the country after a state of emergency was declared. The list included names of military officers, ministers, judges, prosecutors and governors.
The messages confirmed that former air force commander General Akin Ozturk is behind the coup attempt.