Turkey’s Foreign Ministry Dismisses Dozens of Diplomats

disisleri-bakani-mevlut-cavusoglu-makedonya-7069914_x_oA massive process to dismiss diplomats with suspected Gülenist sympathies from the Turkish Foreign Ministry began early on July 26 following the failed coup attempt. Notifications have been sent to dozens of diplomats, including two ambassadors, upon the instruction of Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.

The ambassador-level diplomats who were dismissed included Gürcan Balık, who has long served as the chief advisor to former Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, and former Ambassador to Canada Tuncay Babalı. Two other ambassador-level diplomats, Şentürk Uzun and Ali Fındık, were dismissed prior to the July 15 failed coup attempt.

Apart from the ambassadors, dozens of lower-level diplomats were also dismissed from the ministry over their links to the Fethullah Gülen organization.

The names to be dismissed from the ministry were identified after meticulous work carried out under the leadership of Çavuşoğlu on July 25.

The crackdown within Turkey’s Foreign Ministry will include some ambassador-level diplomats with links to the Gülenist organization, the foreign minister has said, admitting there was a serious infiltration from this group into the ministry in recent years.

“There will be dismissals [from the ministry] including at the ambassador level,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told Habertürk TV on July 25. Although he did not name those who would be dismissed, Çavuşoğlu said one of them was a former head of the personnel department of the ministry and the other one was one of close aides to former Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. The minister added that those ambassadors were not on active missions.

Çavuşoğlu said they were carrying out a meticulous investigation within the Foreign Ministry to determine those who were linked with the Gülenist organization before issuing dismissals.

A total of 34 personnel suspected to be members of the Gülenist organization have already been transferred to a special unit established under the Prime Ministry in the last year, Çavuşoğlu said, adding as a result of an ongoing probe into some lower-level diplomats, some would also be recalled to Ankara from their missions abroad.

A significant number of diplomats was transferred to the Foreign Ministry from other state institutions while the personal department was under the control of the Gülenist diplomats, Çavuşoğlu stressed, adding almost all of them lacked capacity and capability in foreign languages.

In a separate statement over the weekend, Çavuşoğlu vowed to clear his ministry of this organization.

“We will clear the state of this gang because they have infiltrated the state through treacherous plans. For example, my ministry, the Foreign Ministry… for ages the selection process for the ministry was based on open-ended questions and translation from Turkish into English. But those belonging to this parallel gang changed the selection system into a multiple choice test after getting control of the personnel department,” Çavuşoğlu told reporters late July 23 in Antalya.

“They have imposed the hardest questions ever in the history of the ministry so that only their members who have been provided with the answers beforehand can pass the exam. None of them has the foreign language capability or capacity [to be a diplomat],” he added.

“Now, can I work comfortably as the foreign minister before I fully clean these traitors from my ministry? Would you entrust the memory and secrets of the state to these people? I would not. I will do whatever necessary within the law,” Çavuşoğlu stressed.