Turkish FM denies ordering closure of schools run by Gülen movement abroad
Ahmet Davutoğlu speaks during the inauguration of the Kenyan Embassy in Ankara, April 9. AA PhotoTurkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has strictly ruled out news reports suggesting he has recently ordered for the closure of the schools run abroad by the Hizmet (Service) network.
The schools are backed by U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who is in a severe rift with the Turkish government.
“No, there has been no such order [pertaining to closing schools abroad],” Davutoğlu said late on April 9, while speaking in an interview with news channel Kanal 24, expressing surprise at such claims.
“The Foreign Ministry has made no such decision. There is an open and clear order that says: What’s required of it [the Foreign Ministry] will be carried out in the case of any insult or activity against the Republic of Turkey, -- no matter by whom and no matter how,” Davutoğlu said.
Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) officials repeatedly accuse members of the Gülen community, also known as the Hizmet Movement, of infiltrating the police and judiciary, plotting against the government.
The Gülen movement has recently cited various examples of official Turkish pressure on foreign governments to shut down Gülen schools, a key source of its influence and revenue at home and abroad. It says the government has recently moved to discourage Hizmet-linked commerce from engaging in projects from banking to construction.