Ankara bids to prevent use of ‘Turkish school’ in title of foreign Gülen-linked schools
REUTERS photoTurkey will take steps to try to prevent use of the term “Turkish school” by international educational facilities linked to the network of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has stated.
“We discussed the FETÖ schools abroad in a recent cabinet meeting. Either through a cabinet decision or through a decree law, we should ban the use of ‘Turkish’ or ‘Turkey’ by these schools, which have nothing to do with [Turkey],” Erdoğan said in an address to 81 provincial governors on Sept. 8, referring to what the government calls the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ), believed to be behind the July 15 coup attempt.
He said the Foreign Ministry would communicate with all countries that have Gülen-linked schools in their territories to prohibit use of the term “Turkish schools.”
He recalled that Gülen said his network has schools in more than 170 countries in an interview with an Egyptian newspaper, indicating Gülen’s ambitions to widen his global influence as it is targeted in Turkey.
Erdoğan claimed that Gülen’s schools abroad were looked on favorably by prominent statesmen around the world, including heads of state, senior politicians, and officials. He said the graduates of these schools, as in Turkey, would try to use their link to Gülen for darker purposes after starting to occupy critical positions in their respective countries.
This process has become visible in some Turkic countries in Central Asia, Erdoğan said, adding that he had provided evidence to the leaders of these countries.
“When we tell them about this they say: ‘But in the past when they applied to us [to open schools], you were their reference.’ They are right. At the time we were not able to understand their real purpose,” he said.