Home Page
News 23 Nov 16

Croatia Media Claim Turkish Attaches Sought Asylum

Media reports claim two former Turkish military attaches applied for a political asylum in Croatia following the failed coup there in July - amid continuing speculation about why the former ambassador was withdrawn.

Sven Milekic
Turkish ministry of foreign affairs. Photo: Facebook/Republic of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Following controversy and confusion in the media over why Turkey's ambassador to Croatia, Ahmet Tuta, was withdrawn in August, a newspaper has claimed two former Turkish military attaches have applied for asylum in Croatia and are still in the country.

On Wednesday, the daily Vecernji list reported, citing sources from the Turkish Foreign Ministry, that two former Turkish military attaches present in Croatia for a NATO military exercise in July applied for political asylum in Croatia, after refusing to return to Turkey, fearing arrest.

Croatia's Interior Ministry did not respond to BIRN’s inquiries about the two attaches.

Vecernji list also reported that Tuta was removed for not publicly stating that as a student he once attended a school run by the exiled Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who authorities in Ankara blame for fomenting the failed coup in July.

On Tuesday, the weekly paper Nacional first reported that Ambassador Tuta and his wife Mina were withdrawn for issues connected to the failed coup.

Mina Tuta also headed the Yunus Emre Institut in Zagreb. Opened by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on his visit to Zagreb in April, it promotes Turkish language, history, culture, art and the country.

Turkish embassy in Zagreb has confirmed to BIRN that ambassador Tuta ended his mandate regularly, while the Croatian Foreign Ministry said it was informed he would be leaving in August.

Croatian MP Goran Beus Richembergh, president of the Croatian-Turkish Friendship Association, told BIRN that Tuta was withdrawn before the end of his mandate.

Richemberg explained that the Tuta couple decided together that Mina should leave her post in the Institute, so the family would not be split up after the ambassador was told on August 15 to return to Turkey by the end of the month.

He said the couple continued performed their duties before leaving on August 27.

“I visited the Tutas on the evening of August 26 in the ambassador’s residence to say goodbye because the next day they had a flight back to Turkey. After that, I had no contact with them,” he concluded.

The Turkish authorities have repeatedly blamed Gulen, who lives in the US, for masterminding the failed coup in July, an accusation he denies.

Since July, the authorities have reportedly arrested 36,000 people, and more than 110,000 people have been sacked from jobs in the military, the civil service, the judiciary, education and the media.

Talk about it!

blog comments powered by Disqus

Related Headlines:

26 Jun 17

Far-Right Croatian NGO to Honour Ustasa Commander

A marginal far-right NGO announced it will put up a plaque honouring Jure Francetic, the commander of a Croatian World War II fascist Ustasa unit responsible for large-scale crimes against Serbs and Jews.

26 Jun 17

The Balkans Today: 26th June - 30th June 2017

26 Jun 17

Macedonia in Line for Busy Political Week

25 Jun 17

Albania Awaits General Elections Results

25 Jun 17

LIVE: Albanian General Elections 2017

Premium Selection

26 Jun 17

Bosnia’s Ex-Refugees Use Language Skills in Call Centres

When German-speaking clients get through to a call centre, there is a good chance that the operator on the other end of the line is a Bosnian who found refuge in Germany during the 1992-5 war.

26 Jun 17

Serbia’s New PM Likely to Stay in Vucic’s Shadow

While Ana Brnabic awaits confirmation in parliament as Serbia’s new Prime Minister, experts say the real decisions will continue to be taken by her patron, President Aleksandar Vucic.

23 Jun 17

Albania Enjoys Calmest Ever Election Campaign

23 Jun 17

Romanian Top Filmmakers Fight for Reform

Latest News from the Balkans

26 Jun 17

Macedonia in Line for Busy Political Week

25 Jun 17

Albania Awaits General Elections Results