Turkey – Politics – Coup – Diplomacy

Turkey Arrests Ex-Envoy Who Brokered Secret Gulen Meeting

Turkey Arrests Ex-Envoy Who Brokered Secret Gulen Meeting
Sat Aug 27, 2016 17:45:37

Turkish authorities on Saturday arrested three former top diplomats over the failed July 15 coup, including a senior official who brokered a meeting between the then premier and the US-based preacher blamed for the plot.

A court in Ankara remanded in custody Gurcan Balik, Ali Findik and Tuncay Babali ahead of a trial over their alleged links to Gulen, the state-run Anadolu news agency said. All three were sent to the city's Sincan jail.

Balik was chief foreign policy advisor to former president Abdullah Gul, who served as president from 2007 to 2014 before handing over to Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

He had also worked as an advisor to former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu during his long stint as foreign minister.

In that role, Balik in 2013 set up a hugely controversial meeting between Davutoglu and US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen while the then foreign minister was attending the UN General Assembly in New York, Anadolu said.

Davutoglu in May 2015 confirmed he had secretly visited Gulen for talks at his Pennsylvania compound aimed at persuading him to return to Turkey to ease tensions in the bureaucracy.

He has insisted both Gul and Erdogan, then prime minister, were aware of the visit. Gul however said he only found out afterwards, AFP reported.

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