The interview came after Turkish authorities said late last week that an attempted military coup had taken place in the country, which they blamed on a group led by Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, who currently lives in self-imposed exile in the United States.
"Purges are continuing in Turkey amid Western media speculations that Ankara is bolstering ties with Moscow so as to be covered by Russia. Moscow keeps silent as it watches the situation, and it is right by doing so. The Turkish diplomatic problem remains a knot that must be untied by the EU and NATO," he said.
Now a big question is "how Ataturk's nation will live after last Friday night's failed coup, and whether Turkey will finally yield to radical Islamism," according to Bertoldi.
"We should be concerned about the real coup that we are witnessing right now. Using the [attempted] coup as a pretext, he dismantles the rule of law-based state, separation of powers, and he is also preparing constitutional reform. Moreover, he said that he would return the death penalty if the parliament approved the move," he said.
In this vein, he quoted Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni as saying that "it is absolutely impossible to continue the dialogue with the country, which is going to introduce the death penalty, the abolition of which remains one of the principles of the EU."
Bertoldi, for his part, pointed out that "although relations between Turkey and Western countries, as well as Italian-Turkish ties are deteriorating with every passing minute, Turkey remains a member of supranational organizations such as NATO."
Meanwhile, the Turkish government has formally submitted paperwork calling for the extradition of Fethullah Gulen.
The Erdogan government blames Gulen, a political and religious figure residing in Pennsylvania, for orchestrating last week's failed coup attempt.Fighting in the streets of Istanbul and Ankara has left nearly 300 people dead and more than 1,400 injured.
In the wake of the attempted coup, Turkish authorities have conducted an unprecedented crackdown on individuals believed to be involved, including governors, prosecutors, intelligence officers, judges, and military personnel.