Erdogan wants spy agency under his control

Pro-Erdogan supporters hold Turkish national flags and a portrait of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a rally against the military coup on Taksim square in Istanbul on July 23, 2016. (AFP)

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday said he wanted to introduce constitutional changes to bring the Turkish spy agency and military chief of staff directly under his control after the failed coup.

"We are going to introduce a small constitutional package (to parliament) which, if approved, will bring the National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) and chief of staff under the control of the presidency," he told A-Haber television in an interview.

The government would need support from opposition parties to push through the shift as a super majority of two-thirds of deputies is needed to make constitutional changes.

Erdogan added that in the wake of the July 15 coup bid "military schools will be closed... and a national military university will be founded" as part of a wide-ranging shake-up of the army.

He also said that in future the heads of the land, sea and air forces will also have to report directly to Defence Minister Fikri Isik.

The changes, announced just over two weeks after the coup, appear aimed at giving Erdogan more control over the armed forces and intelligence.

Rogue elements in the military -- who Erdogan says were controlled by the US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen -- surprised the authorities by launching the coup while the president has also complained of intelligence failures.

Erdogan also said a three-month state of emergency declared in the wake of the coup could be extended, as the French authorities did after a string of jihadist attacks in the country.

"If things do not return to normal in the state of emergency then like France we could extend it," Erdogan said.

The president said that until now 18,699 people had been detained in the legal crackdown after the coup, with 10,137 of them placed under arrest.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:49 - GMT 06:49