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.
At the heart of the matter is the question of Maa’rif’s credentials to take over the schools instead of its Pakistani management. Turkey is least known for its standard of education. Moreover, the Erdogan-backed organisation is neither experienced in the education field nor apolitical. The organisation is already scared with allegation of child sexually abuse in Turkey.
Amnesty South Asia Director Champa Patel: “With 24 million Pakistani children out of school, Pakistan’s decision to expel teachers from the Pak-Turk International Schools and Colleges will only hurt Pakistan’s children. What the country needs is more classrooms and more teachers, not a politically-motivated decision to purge educators at the behest of the Turkish government.”
Mohammed Aqeel, 24, who attended the Peshawar school and now teaches there, called the visa cancellations “a shameful event” that had compromised Pakistan’s independence and damaged its educational standards. “There is no foreign ideology here,” he said. “I love this school. It grooms us to be good human beings as well as students.”
The act of sending to Turkey over 400 Turkish citizens working and studying in the Pak-Turk International School system is highly condemnable. They have been living in Pakistan since 1995 and this is their home now. Their kids were born and brought up in Pakistan. It is heart-wrenching to see that they are suddenly being treated like terrorists.
The point is that Turkish teachers have not committed any crime in Pakistan. Abrupt exodus of those teachers would destroy teaching system in Pak-Turk schools in Pakistan. Nawaz Sharif should have considered the interest of citizens of Pakistan before submitting to unfair requests of Turkish government.
“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.