As many as 108 Turkish employees of the Pak Turk Schools, along with their families, have been in the United Nations’ protection after Pakistani authorities denied them an extension in their visas to work in the country. The applicants had told UNHCR they feared arrest, coercion and torture by the Erdogan government in Turkey in case the Pakistani government forcibly deported them to Istanbul.
Despite tremendous efforts exerted by the government, only a few countries have given in to pressure from Ankara over the shutdown of Hizmet-linked schools, with a majority of them refusing to meet the demands of the Turkish government.
Brooklyn Amity School became a site where students dealt with all kinds of animals, including alligators, frogs, reindeer, sharks, cows, pandas, bees, and seals. As a host of the First Lego League qualifier competition, 11 different schools came to Amity School. This year, the FLL’s concept was “Animal Allies,” which allowed students to think and act like scientists and engineers.
The R. Shahin Friendship School in Batumi, among the most in-demand schools in the whole country, was denied authorization by the General Educational Authorization Council of Georgia. Fingers are pointed at Turkey’s Erdogan as he is increasing political pressure on the countries where his arch-rival, Fethullah Gulen, still maintains a foothold.
The government canceled the passports of all public servants purged with a decree and imposed travel restrictions on them and their spouses. Visiting scholars were ordered to return to Turkey. Academic freedom has been significantly restricted. In short, the entire educational system of Turkey has been crushed by the crackdown following the coup-attempt.
The director assured the public that claims linking the institution to an alleged terror network were grossly untrue and a fabrication made with the intention of spoiling its image. “Our schools have no link with any terror group, we are a local registered charity organisation where every single sent obtained from schools fee is used for the redevelopment of the schools,” he added.
Erdogan came to Tanzania, Mozambique and Madagascar believing that if he waved around the prospect of massive investment, the governments would shut down the Gulen schools and give marching orders to the Turkish nationals running them. It turned out at the African states quite like having well-resourced schools catering for the local elites and did not oblige.
Erdogan wants the Gulen-linked schools in Africa to be closed down, yet they are the very educational establishments which are popular with Africa’s middle class. They are an inexpensive alternative to French schools. If parents send their children to Turkish schools, it is not because the schools are Turkish, but because they employ good teachers. Africa’s middle class want good schools.