Erdoğan vows to replace Gülen schools abroad with Turkish ministry schools
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (L) and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn speak to the media after a bilateral meeting in the capital Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Jan. 22, 2015. AP Photo
The Turkish president has again called on foreign countries to shut down schools operated by supporters of Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, a U.S.-based ally-turned-foe, saying the Turkish state would happily replace those schools.
“Me, our prime minister, and our ministers tell the leaders of countries we visit to close these schools, explaining their positions,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Jan. 22, speaking at a joint press conference with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
His remarks came in response to a question about the private and charter schools operated by supporters of the Gülen movement across over 140 countries, including many in Africa.
Erdoğan also said government officials seek to assure these countries that Turkey’s Education Ministry would be able to provide the services given by Gülen schools in these countries.
“The Education Ministry is about to complete its works on this issue,” he added.
On several occasions over the past few years, Erdoğan has reportedly urged foreign countries, particularly African countries where Gülen supporters are known to have a strong presence, to be careful about the Gülen movement’s activities, arguing that it uses its schools and charities as a cover for its “dangerous actions.”