Former presidential advisor arrested over Gülenist links
Three former top Turkish diplomats were arrested on Aug. 27 on charges related to the recent failed coup attempt.
Gürcan Balık once served as executive assistant to former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu as well as foreign policy advisor to the country's 11th President Abdullah Gül.
In 2013, during a U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York where Turkey was represented by then-President Gül, Balık, in his capacity as the of chief the cabinet to the minister, played a key role in the arrangement of a meeting between Davutoğlu and the Pennsylvania-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.
Ali Fındık and Tuncay Babalı are former ambassadors to Costa Rica and Canada, respectively, who had been removed from their posts due to links to the Fetullah Gülen network, which Turkey accuses of being behind the July 15 attempted overthrow that killed 240 people and injured nearly 2,200 others.
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.
The three suspects were sent to jail, pending trial after their testimonies in an Ankara court.
Balık served as the chief foreign policy advisor to then-President Gül from August 2013 to July 2014. At the time, when controversy over Davutoğlu’s meeting with Gülen made headlines, Davutoğlu stressed that Gül had been kept informed of the visit to Pennsylvania.
However, Gül was clear that he had not been informed of the visit beforehand and said he only heard about it a week after the visit, when Balık informed him.
In May 2015, veteran journalist Fehmi Koru quoted Gül as telling him: “My mind is clear. What’s more, as I was not informed of the issue beforehand and due to the uneasiness I shared with my close circle when I heard of it, it is not possible for me to forget about it.”
Costa Rica and UNESCO
The official website of Turkey’s Embassy in San Jose, in its Mission Chief History section, only refers to Fındık’s tenure, as he served there from September 2014 to November 2015.
As for Balık, his lengthy “curriculum vitae” was still on the official webpage of the Permanent Delegation of Turkey to UNESCO.
From September 2008 to December 2010, Balık served as the Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers, Head of Department. From December 2010 to February 2011 he served as Deputy Director of Directorate General for International Law. From February 2011 to December 2012 he served as Minister Plenipotentiary and Special Advisor to the Minister.
In June 2013, as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Balık presented his accreditation letter to the Director-General of UNESCO.