“I do not know why the media is publishing all these alarming reports about the ambassador. I can say that on 26 August I went to the residence of the then Turkish Ambassador Ahmed Tuta and said goodbye to him and his family due to the fact that they had plane tickets to return to Turkey the following day”, said Goran Beus Richembergh, president of the Croatian-Turkish Friendship Association and HNS’s member of Parliament, reports Večernji List on November 23, 2016.
“Everything was fine. There was a normal procedure for the withdrawal of an ambassador. It is true that they were sorry they had to return to Turkey before his term was completed. I thanked Mr. Tuta and his wife for their cooperation and wished them a safe journey”, said Richembergh, noting that Tuta also said goodbye to President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
His words have been confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs in a statement which, among other things, states that “as far as the case of the Turkish Embassy in Croatia is concerned, all arrivals and departures of members of the mission have been officially announced according to the diplomatic protocol”.
Sources from the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Ahmet Tuta was withdrawn from Zagreb because he had not reported that 25 years ago he graduated from a Gülen school in Turkey, even though he was required to do it according to the law after the attempted military coup in Turkey failed.
According to the same sources, Tuta is no longer part of the Turkish civil service but has not been arrested, which was reported earlier by some Croatian media. Diplomatic sources in Croatia who were on good terms with the Tuta family say they last spoke with the family on 10 September, when they were in Izmir.
Also, according to sources from the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bekir Alpua, who was mentioned in Croatian media as a missing Turkish cultural attaché in Zagreb, has never actually been a cultural attaché in Croatia and is serving in Belgrade.
However, unlike Tuta, two Turkish military attaches who were in Croatia at the time of the attempted coup in Turkey, taking part in NATO activities at the Rakitje training ground, have requested political asylum in Croatia and refused to return to Turkey where they thought they might be arrested. According to information of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, they are still in Croatia./IBNA