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Turkey Arrests Ex-Envoy Involved in Plotting for Failed Putsch | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A man’s shadow is seen behind a Turkish flag at Taksim square in Istanbul, on Saturday, July 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

Turkish authorities Saturday arrested three former top diplomats suspected of being involved with the failed July 15 coup.

Among those arrested was a senior official who had allegedly brokered a meeting between the then premier and the U.S.-based preacher accused of orchestrating the plot.

A court in Ankara had placed each of Gurcan Balik, Ali Findik and Tuncay Babali in custody 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 is a prominent figure who was the chief foreign policy adviser to 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 time as foreign minister.

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

Davutoglu insisted there was nothing underhand or illegal about the meeting. “I have never obscured any issue in my life or held a meeting off the state record,” he said in 2015.

Balik was also briefly Turkish ambassador to UNESCO.

Babali and Findik were Turkey’s ambassadors to Canada and Costa Rica respectively but neither had been on active mission since early 2014.

Balik was first detained on August 19 and the two other ambassadors on August 18.

Turkey has embarked on an all-out purge of state institutions in the wake of the coup to rid the country of what Erdogan calls the “virus” of Gulen’s influence.