İstanbul municipality tears down part of school in midnight operation

Turkish authorities destroy outer fence of the Fatih Koleji in Merter. (Photo: Today's Zaman, Selahattin Sevi)
Turkish authorities destroy outer fence of the Fatih Koleji in Merter. (Photo: Today's Zaman, Selahattin Sevi)


Date posted: October 8, 2014

The İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality sent teams in the early hours of Tuesday morning to the private Fatih College in the Merter neighborhood to demolish the wall of the school as well as a security cabin in the school’s courtyard.

The municipality, which is run by the governing Justice and Development Party (AK Party), had earlier decided to construct a road through the courtyard of the school, which is affiliated with the Hizmet movement — one of the largest faith-based communities in Turkey. The school has been in operation for 20 years.

Teams from the municipality arrived at the school at around midnight and rapidly demolished one of the walls surrounding the courtyard and the security cabin nearby. Sources said the municipality did not send any written warning to the school administration about its demolition plans beforehand. What was more unusual was that the demolition took place at midnight and on Eid — an official holiday in Turkey.

The demolition was protested by some 400 people, who rushed to the school upon hearing that municipality teams were tearing down part of Fatih College. The protesters were challenged by police teams.

In late August, Fatih College Director Salim Kaplan told the media that the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality wants to construct a road through the courtyard of the school. The college appealed the municipality decision at an administrative court, which has yet to announce its decision.

Before that, the Bolu Municipality closed down two schools belonging to businesspeople affiliated with the faith-based Hizmet movement in early July.

The closure of the two schools in Bolu followed similar incidents across Turkey. In early June, the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality stopped the construction of an educational complex on privately owned land on the pretext that the land was to be designated a green area and gathering spot in the event of an earthquake. The municipality failed to obtain the required approval from other authorities in the province to halt the construction of the education complex. They said that the complex belongs to Fetih Eğitim İşletmeleri (Fetih Educational Operations), which has close ties to the Hizmet movement.

All of these schools are close to the Hizmet movement, which is inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has accused the Hizmet movement of being behind a massive corruption investigation. He claims that the investigation was an attempt to overthrow his AK Party government, although the prime minister has not been able to produce any evidence to justify his claims.

Mehmet Dikmen, general director of Fatih Öğretim İşletmeleri (Fatih Teaching Operations), said the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality had previously attempted to demolish parts of the school, but the attempts were foiled thanks to objections made by the school administration. Now that the municipality has this time managed to demolish the wall and security cabin of the school, the school administration is planning to sue the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality, according to Dikmen.

Dikmen also called on protesters to remain calm and follow legal procedures to seek their rights for the future of the school.

Lawyer Fikret Duran said he will file a suit against the municipality on Wednesday (today) and ask the municipality to recover the school’s financial loss due to the demolition.

Yusuf Karaç, the father of two students attending Fatih College, told the media that the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality is seeking to discredit the college in the eyes of the people by demolishing parts of it. “There is one thing they [municipal officials] cannot understand: We do not send our children to this school for the school’s courtyard or security cabin. We send our children to this school for the high level of education it offers. We send our children here because we trust the administration of this school. I will continue to send my children here even if the school does not have even one square meter of courtyard,” he stated.

Karaç also expressed his belief that more people will send their children to Hizmet-affiliated schools in protest of a growing hate campaign against Hizmet. “We believe justice will be done. We trust God’s justice,” he noted.

Engin Aman, a shopkeeper in Merter, described the municipality’s demolition of part of Fatih College as “brutal.” “This [demolition] happened on the third day of Eid [al-Adha]. This is brutal. This is cruel,” he said.

Source: Today's Zaman , October 7, 2014


Related News

Brookings: Takvim’s news on Hizmet movement incorrect, totally ignorant

Commenting on the Takvim news piece, Ömer Taşpınar, a Middle East expert at Brookings, said the news does not reflect the truth and that pro-government dailies publish news supporting conspiracies against the movement.

İstanbul Transportation Authority cancels bus line to Fatih University

Amid growing examples of discrimination against the Hizmet movement, the İstanbul Transportation Authority (İETT) canceled one bus line to Fatih University, which is considered to be affiliated with the Hizmet movement. An official from İETT, İsmihan Şimşek talked to Today’s Zaman and admitted that the 76F bus line had been canceled, but dismissed the idea that the decision deliberately targeted Fatih University. According to her, following analysis of demand for bus services in the region, the 76F bus line was discontinued while two other lines, HT18 and 418, continue to run with stops at Fatih University.

Lawyers, academics say ‘parallel state’ was invented to block graft probe

A total of 150 academics signed the manifesto, titled “Rule of law suspended.” The manifesto says the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government cannot ignore the corruption allegations just by making up claims of a “parallel state” — which has no meaning in political science or law — and placing the blame on the Hizmet movement, which is inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, for its unlawful practices.

Interview with Henri Barkey on the Hizmet Movement

Henri Barkey, who has been one of the leading Turkey analysts in Washington, joined journalist Ruşen Çakır’s live broadcast via Periscope. He made interesting comments about the claims of the “parallel structure,” the situation of Fethullah Gülen in the US, and the appointment of trustees to the Zaman daily.

Despite father’s arrest, Kanter refuses to be silenced

“I play in the NBA; that’s why people know my story,” Kanter said. “My dad is only one. There are thousands of kids out there who have no mom or dad because of what’s going on in Turkey. I have to speak and let people know what’s going on. I want the whole world to know what’s going on, because they try to hid it.”

‘Selam’ – story of teachers in Turkish schools abroad to hit movie theaters in March

AYHAN HÜLAGÜ, İSTANBUL Director Levent Demirkale’s latest feature film, “Selam” (Greeting), which depicts the true stories of selfless teachers in Turkish schools abroad, will hit movie theaters in Turkey on March 29.The first-ever Turkish production filmed on three continents and four countries, “Selam” focuses on the stories of three teachers — Harun, Zehra and Adem […]

Latest News

This notable Pocono resident has been living here in exile since 1999

Logistics companies seized over Gülen links sold in fast-track auction

That is Why the Turkish Government could Pay 1 Billion Euros

ECtHR rules Bulgaria violated rights of Turkish journalist who was deported despite seeking asylum

Fethullah Gülen’s Message of Condolences in the Wake of the Western European Floods

Pregnant woman kept in prison for 4 months over Gülen links despite regulations

Normalization of Abduction, Torture, and Death in Erdogan’s Turkey

Turkey’s Maarif Foundation illegally seized German-run school in Ethiopia, says manager

Failed 2016 coup was gov’t plot to purge Gülenists from state bodies, journalist claims

In Case You Missed It

Thai minister thanks to Turkish schools for contribution to education

Replacing Turkey’s purged elite

Mother detained over Gülen links while premature baby left in intensive care

EU lends support to mosque-cemevi project

Turkey blacklists 68 companies including Germany’s Daimler, BASF over Gülen links

Erdoğan’s parallel bicycle gets rotten

A Canadian-Saudi’s reflections on Hizmet

Copyright 2021 Hizmet News