Turkish Foreign Ministry recalls 300 diplomats in probe
ANKARATurkey’s Foreign Ministry has called on around 300 diplomats serving at missions abroad to return to the country as part of an investigation into the Fetullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ), which was blamed for the failed July 15 coup attempt.
Diplomats who are found to have had liaisons with FETÖ will be laid off from their jobs, while those who have no connection with the organization will return to their posts, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported Aug. 21, citing anonymous sources.
Within the scope of the probe being run by the Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office, the diplomatic leg of FETÖ, along with its extensions in the security, judicial, political, education and business sectors are also being investigated.
Ambassador Gürcan Balık, who served as the chief adviser to former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu during the latter’s time as foreign minister amid a variety of diplomatic crises, was detained Aug. 19 as part of Turkey’s post-coup attempt investigation.
Ahead of Balık’s detention, two former Turkish ambassadors linked to FETÖ were detained Aug. 18.
Tuncay Babalı, former ambassador to Canada, and Ali Fındık, former ambassador to Costa Rica, were detained in Ankara for suspected links to FETÖ, a police source said Aug. 18.
Balık, Babalı and Fındık remain in custody, Anadolu Agency reported Aug. 21.
Balık and Babalı have not been on an active mission since early 2014, after the government began fighting against the Gülen movement in the wake of a massive corruption and fraud operation targeting government members in late 2013.
Gülenist infiltration of the Foreign Ministry took place in high numbers between 2007 and 2013. Both Babalı and Fındık served in the human resources department of the ministry during this period. Babalı was the head of the department between 2010 and 2012 before being appointed to Ottawa, while Fındık was sent to Costa Rica as the Turkish envoy.
Balık served as the chief foreign policy adviser to then-President Abdullah Gül from August 2013 to July 2014.
In June 2013, as ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary, Balık presented his accreditation letter to the director-general of UNESCO.
From September 2008 to December 2010, Balık served as the chief of the Cabinet of Ministers’s department head. From December 2010 to February 2011, he served as deputy director of the Directorate General for International Law. From February 2011 to December 2012, he served as minister plenipotentiary and special adviser to the minister.