350 diplomats expelled due to Gülen links: Foreign minister

350 diplomats expelled due to Gülen links: Foreign minister

350 diplomats expelled due to Gülen links: Foreign minister

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Sonme 350 diplomats have been expelled from the Foreign Ministry since a July 2016 coup attempt due to links to the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ), the alleged mastermind of the putsch, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said.

“Upon decree laws 667, 672 and 675, 408 persons employed in my ministry were expelled from civil service between July 16 and Nov 7, 2016. In this frame, 350 personnel in diplomatic careers and 58 employees in other categories have been dismissed,” Çavuşoğlu said in an answer to a parliamentary inquiry raised by Sezgin Tanrıkulu, deputy leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP).  

The government expelled dozens of thousands civil servants on the grounds that they had been either members or sympathizers of FETÖ while arresting thousands of them who have been directly in touch with coup plotters. 

Among Foreign Ministry personnel who have been dismissed from their positions are Turkey’s former ambassadors to UNESCO, Gürcan Balık; to Canada, Tuncay Babalı; and to Costa Rica, Ali Fındık. Balık, Babalı and Fındık have all since been arrested. 

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.