Turkish diplomats to be discharged will exceed 300: Foreign minister

Turkish diplomats to be discharged will exceed 300: Foreign minister

ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Turkish diplomats to be discharged will exceed 300: Foreign minister

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A total of 88 diplomats, including two ambassadors, have been discharged from their duties in the Turkish Foreign Ministry in the aftermath of the failed July 15 coup attempt, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said, adding that the number will likely exceed 300 with continued crackdowns in the coming days. 

“The number of personnel with links to this organization is more than 300. This includes two or three ambassadors. We have established a commission within the ministry that examines every single case based on a number of criteria,” Çavuşoğlu told private broadcaster CNN Türk on July 28. 

“We don’t want to be unfair to anybody. But at the same time we can’t take risks,” he said, adding that “very meticulous work is being carried out.” 

Çavuşoğlu also said a staff member working at the Kazan Consulate has fled to Japan amid the investigation into the coup attempt, which the government blames on what it calls the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ).

The two ambassadors that have already been discharged are Gürcan Balık and Tuncay Babalı, Çavuşoğlu said in a separate statement on July 28. 

Balık, who long served as the chief advisor to former Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, and Babalı, former Ambassador to Canada, were discharged on July 26 along with two other ambassador-level diplomats, Şentürk Uzun and Ali Fındık.

Çavuşoğlu stressed that these Gülen-linked diplomats have infiltrated into the ministry in recent years, with the assistance of pro-Gülen diplomats in the human resources department leaking questions to entrance examinations.

He also noted that many of these suspects lacked the skills necessary for their positions, particularly noting that some diplomats who have been accepted to the ministry lack sufficient foreign language skills. 

“Even my English is much better than many of them,” he said. 

Gülenist infiltration into the Foreign Ministry is thought to have taken place in particularly high numbers between 2007 and 2013, and the number of diplomats currently under scrutiny is reported to be around 300.