Up against the greatest challenge of his political career in facing down an attempted coup, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was prepared to use any means to speak to the people.

The president, who almost every day of his working life speaks to huge audiences from a podium, was forced to address Turks from a simple mobile phone.

Astonished Turks saw the president, looking rattled and drawn, peer out of the screen not in person but from a smartphone.

Presenters on the NTV and CNN-Turk channels, who seemed as astonished by the situation as anyone, held smartphones up to the camera with a microphone beneath to broadcast interviews with Erdogan to the world.

The president appeared stressed but also defiant, issuing a call to supporters to rally in the streets which was rapidly followed in Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir.

“I certainly believe that coup plotters will not succeed,” Erdogan told CNN-Turk television, speaking on FaceTime via mobile phone.

“I urge the Turkish people to convene at public squares and airports. I never believed in a power higher than the power of the people.”

His plea appears to have worked. Though the coup’s eventual defeat was in no small part thanks to the actions of military forces loyal to Erdogan, it was no doubt aided by the thousands of civilians who took to the streets and confronted the rebel forces head on.

The tactic later drew bemused commentary from Turks who recalled past government efforts to restrict YouTube and other social media platforms.

Perhaps the Turkish leader has now finally seen the light.