Pakistan to deport teachers linked to Gülenists

Pakistan to deport teachers linked to Gülenists

Pakistan to deport teachers linked to Gülenists

REU Photo

Pakistan has ordered Turkish teachers at schools with alleged links to the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen to leave the country, as it prepared to host President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. 
The teachers and their families, totaling roughly 450 people, were given three days’ notice to leave, PakTurk International Schools and Colleges said in a statement late on Nov. 15. 

PakTurk educates more than 10,000 students in Pakistan and denies any affiliation with the preacher or the Gülen movement, which is widely believed to have been behind the July 15 failed coup attempt. 

Turkey has previously asked Pakistan to shut down any groups in the country that have links to the Gülenists. 

“PakTurk International Schools and Colleges are deeply concerned over the abrupt decision of the government requiring the Turkish teachers, management and their family members ... to leave the country within three days,” the school said, adding that the staff were asked to leave because of the “non-approval of their requests for visa extensions.”

Pakistan’s Interior Ministry did not respond to requests for comment, according to Reuters. 

But before his departure from Ankara, Erdoğan praised Pakistan’s actions against the Gülenist movement, which the government calls the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).

“Pakistan’s decision to have people linked to FETÖ leave the country by Nov. 20 is very pleasing,” Erdoğan said. “Just like Turkey, Pakistan is carrying out a relentless fight against terror. Turkey supports Pakistan’s battle until the end.” 

Turkey and Pakistan have traditionally had close ties, which have warmed further under the leadership of Erdoğan and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.  

PakTurk said the schools would continue operating across Pakistan and told students and their family members that it was opposed to the infiltration “of some other organization into the teachers and staff of the schools.”