According to Iranian Fars News Agency and Arab media outlets citing diplomatic sources in Ankara – Russia helped prevent a successful military coup d’état in Turkey by intercepting encrypted messages and warning President Erdogan of the incoming attack on his government just hours before the rebel operation got underway.
Intelligence about the planned coup was gathered by the Russian military units in the region. It is believed that officers at the Russian Hmeimim Air Base in northern Syria, which houses modern intercept systems, were able to capture and analyze encrypted radio messages, revealing the plans of the Turkish military to topple the government and capture or kill President Erdogan.
The heads up from Russia gave the Turkish leader just enough time to prepare and adequately respond, evacuating his hotel at the Marmaris resort right before several military helicopters arrived at the scene to capture or assassinate him.
This most recent and groundbreaking revelation, if true, explains why Erdogan phoned Putin on the following day. Certainly, Erdogan must now realize that his apology to Russia about the downing of Su-24 couldn’t have come at a better time. Had he stalled with the apology, perhaps Russia would have just stepped back and watched him fail. Then again, maybe the apology and renewed dialogue with Putin was the very reason the coup was given the green light by its masterminds in the West.
Either way, Erdogan came out of the coup more resilient than ever. And he has only Russia to thank for that. The next few weeks and months will show us if Turkey’s president actually learned his lesson, and whether it will lead to any significant policy shifts in the region.