Turkish coup pilot’s F-16 fighter jet which was to shoot down President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s plane on July 15 ran out of fuel and was forced to turn back and refuel, Turkish media reported Thursday.
Erdoğan’s jet changed its direct route to Istanbul over information of sharp moves by F-16 jets abducted by the coup pilots and the plane circled the skies of the northwestern district of Bandırma for around half an hour as a precaution, Yeni Şafak news daily was quoted by Hurriyet as reporting.
This was reportedly when an F-16 flying above Istanbul’s Bosphorus recognized the Gulfstream model plane carrying Erdoğan and turned towards it.
The F-16 ran out of fuel as it came within missile range and turned back, Yeni Şafak said.
The garrison commander in Dalaman, Maj. Murat Selçuk Çol, prepared the plane in extreme secrecy, shutting down all lights on the tarmac to prevent any other aerial vehicles from landing, while pilots loyal to the state prevented Erdoğan’s flight information from leaking to the coup plotters, the news daily reported.