Turkey’s president has vowed to fight against the attempted military coup of the country, but was forced to give that vow in an interview from his smartphone.
“Those who attempt a coup will pay a heavy price in the courts,” President Recep Erdogan said Friday on Turkey’s state national broadcast network TRT via FaceTime as a news anchor held up her iPhone.
Erdogan gave the extraordinary interview as he struggles to maintain control of his country. A group of Turkish military generals has begun a campaign to remove Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim from power.
He also called on Turkey’s citizens to take to the streets to defend the current regime and promised that he would return to the capital city of Ankara.
“I invite the public to go to the airports, go to the squares, go to the streets,” he said. “They can come with their tanks and cannons. There’s nothing more powerful than the people.”
The military claims they have taken control of the country and initiated the coup “to reinstall the constitutional order, democracy, human rights and freedoms, to ensure that the rule of law once again reigns in the country, for the law and order to be reinstated,” Al Jazeera reported.
There has been growing discontent with Erdogan in recent years. Turkey’s currency has severely declined in value and tourism in the country has plummeted.
In addition, Erdogan has instituted severe penalties for anyone who would oppose him publicly. For example, a man was put on trial and faces multiple years in prison after he shared a meme comparing Erdogan to the “Lord of the Rings” character Gollum.
Sharon Waxman contributed to this report