It was midnight in the Turkish capital, just two and a half hours into the attempted coup, and the group of nine senior ministers who were gathered in a conference room at the prime ministry were convinced that they were all about to meet their end.
“They probably will be successful and we will die tonight,” said one of the ministers, according to an official who was present at the meeting. “Let us be ready to die. We will all be martyred in this fight.”
He sent his bodyguard to fetch his personal gun. Security forces charged with protecting the building had been escorted out of the room in a sombre scene, because ministers did not know who to trust in the middle of the unfolding coup.
They were in the meeting when the state broadcaster, TRT, was taken over by the rebels and the channel’s anchorwoman was forced to read a statement declaring the military was in control and denouncing President #Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The cabinet fell into utter silence for two minutes.
Government ministers admit they fully expected to be killed by army rebels, but plotters blundered by attacking parliament, alienating potential supporters