Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Tanzania on January 22 to launch a three-nation East Africa tour to crack down against Fethullah Gulen. Erdogan is targeting an international network of charities and schools affiliated with a movement run by US-based Gulen.
Turkey’s involvement in Africa feeds into the Turkish ruling party’s “self-perception as the protector of Muslims and Muslim minorities around the world.” There is also the understanding that the existing Gulenist networks in the West are harder to take on because of Turkey’s capability limitations in the West, especially when it comes to influence and imagery problems.
Zouhir Mohammed Kadour, the Director of the Mohammed Al-Fatih School, said, “We are shocked by the announcement of the Interior Ministry […] We’ve worked for the Al-Fatih School Group for 22 years. We followed the Moroccan curriculum, the Moroccan Ministry of Education program, and the school staff is Moroccan.”
Leading academics from various countries discussed the role of movements in the Muslim world and the experiences of the Gulen Movement at Arab League headquarters in Cairo. The conference, jointly held by Cairo University’s economic and political science faculty, Academic Studies and the Internet Foundation from Turkey, and Hira magazine.
No doubt that Turkey’s Schindler’s List today involves members of the Gülen movement who have done nothing wrong other than volunteering their time, money and expertise to improve the lives of people around themselves. They are viciously being demonized and vilified by Turkey’s President Erdoğan because they stood up against this tyrant’s massive corruption dragnet and arming of radical militants in other countries.
The motive behind Maarif Foundation is to use it as a tool to pressurize African countries to transfer ownership of Hizmet movement linked schools to the Maarif Foundation since the request for the closure of these schools were turned down for lacking in merit.
What is the sense in advocating for the transfer of investments of private individuals to a government backed NGO? Is President Erdogan indirectly telling African leaders that his empire in Turkey extends to African countries hence the outrageous demand? From the preceding, it is clear that President Erdogan has little or no respect for African nations hence this anomaly. I also beg to state here that the politics of Turkey should be left in Turkey.
Mr Cemal Yigit, President, Association of Turkish People in Nigeria (ATPEN) said the Nigerian Turkish International College (NTIC) Foundation, an NGO has drilled over 1, 000 boreholes for communities across Nigeria. He said that communities in Yobe and Ogun states were among the beneficiaries of the boreholes.
The Concerned African Youth against Tyranny (CAYAT) has denied report that the Fethullah Gulen Movement and Hizmet Movement are terrorist groups. National Coordinator of the organisation, Mr. Musa Shaba said yesterday in Abuja that contrary to claims by the Turkish government the movement has become the face of Turkey in Nigeria and Africa.
Notwithstanding such aims and the benefits to Turkish citizens and others around the globe who enjoy scholarship and the benefits of quality education, all such pro-Gülen educational organisations, including the ones established in Nigeria have been branded as enemies by the Turkish government. “I have never heard that the Turkish schools in Nigeria have done anything illegally since the time they began operation in Nigeria; I attended one of such excellent schools so, I see no reason why the school should be closed,” Mohamed said.
Turkish businessmen fleeing arrest in their country for links to an alleged terrorist organisation are trying to set up a new life and open companies in South Africa. Speaking on condition of anonymity to Weekend Argus, a few of the businessmen explained how the Turkish government seized their homes and businesses. The businessmen say some of their families are still at risk back home.