With more than 120,000 public workers suspended and nearly 40,000 people in prison, the aftermath of Turkey’s failed July 15 coup is being felt across every part of society, including its highest-ranked schools. The day after the coup attempt, 1,577 deans — working at nearly every university in the country — were forced to resign. An estimated 200,000 students were left in limbo after the closure of 15 universities and 1,043 private schools.
“The government will neither close down Pak-Turk schools in the country nor will it hand them over to anyone,” announced the Minister of State for Federal Education and Professional Training Baligh Ur Rehman. According to the minister, Pak-Turk schools are registered with the relevant Pakistani authorities and therefore, they will continue to operate in the country.
A student at the Pak-Turk School in Lahore was perplexed at the abrupt deportation of all Turkish teachers at the request of the Turkish President Erdogan. “The Pak-Turk School changed my outlook in life. The teachers were more than simply teachers, they were mentors and helped students in all aspects of life,” this student exclaimed. “Why are they kicking out my teachers who have done so much for my country?” he wondered.
All the parents were depressed and disappointed at the forced exit of Turkish staff. They looked sad with tearful eyes bade farewell to the Turkish staff. Mr. Osman Arslanhan along with the other Turkish staff made a symbolic burial of a heart which was full of hearty wishes of the Turkish staff and drawings made by the Turkish children. The heart was buried with tears in the eyes by all the Turkish staff.
The students, who have been groomed and educated by the Turkish teachers at the PakTurk schools, seem down in the dumps since word about their mentors’ departure got round. The teachers are scheduled to leave Pakistan in the coming week following the government’s deadline.
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.
The recent controversy that has emerged regarding the PakTurk school system is troubling to say the least. PakTurk schools started popping up all over Pakistan during last decade. Turkey has always carried a strong brand value in Pakistan and it is therefore not surprising that the school system ostensibly embodying the best of Pakistan and Turkey was an instantaneous hit with parents.
Bekir Cinar was working as an assistant professor at the political sciences department of Suleyman Sah University when it fell victim to the crackdown. He says that many academics with different views were working at the university. Cinar is currently continuing his scientific work at a British university. He considers this a major loss for Turkey, not least because it takes 20 to 30 years to become an academic.
The petitioners submitted before the court that Pak-Turk schools had been imparting quality education to hundreds of Pakistani children. They said that the forced deportation of Turkish teachers and other staff members was illegal as they had been provided protection under the Constitution.
Petitioner counsel Qazi Muhammad Anwar argued that all the Turkish teachers are very peaceful people who have committed no crime in Turkey as well as here in Pakistan.” He prayed the bench to suspend the federal government’s notice and stop deportation of the Turkish teachers and their families. The bench accepted the request and restrained the deportation of Pak-Turk schools’ staff.
Surely nobody at the joint session really believed Mr Erdogan’s warning about the threat the so called Gullen Network presents Pakistan. No doubt the Turkish president really believes the Network – which ran schools here till just before his visit – is just as dangerous for Pakistan as al Qaeda, etc.
“I know I can’t do anything to persuade the federal government to take back its decision of expelling the Turkish teachers and their families from the country,” a senior Pakistani teacher told PTI. “I must say last Friday was the saddest day in our campus in Lahore as all Turkish students were literally crying,” she said.
Slamming the government’s decision of deporting Turkish teachers and staff from the country, parents said “Pak-Turk Schools were founded without any financial assistance of Turkey and Pakistani government but founded by the philanthropist donations of people of Pakistan and Turkey” adding that these schools were the property of Pakistani people.
Around 400 Turks living in Pakistan have been ordered by the Pakistani government to leave in next three days. Isn’t it deplorable that the government has to do so only to bring a radiant smile on Erdogan’s face? Is Erdogan’s smile worth more than the tears of Pak-Turk students?