Police raid Gülen-inspired schools in Adana despite ministry regulation

The renowned Burç College in Adana was one of the institutions raided by inspectors backed by police forces. (Photo: Cihan)
The renowned Burç College in Adana was one of the institutions raided by inspectors backed by police forces. (Photo: Cihan)


Date posted: August 10, 2015

BİLAL ÖĞÜTÇÜ/ / ADANA

The Adana Police Department early on Thursday coordinated with inspectors from several ministries and other institutions to conduct raids on private schools, dormitories and prep schools established by volunteers inspired by the Gülen movement, despite regulations stating that only the Education Ministry may perform such inspections.

The Adana Governor’s Office called on local branches and directorates of the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, as well as the Health Ministry’s Adana provincial directorate, the Ministry of Education and the Social Security Institution (SGK) to prepare groups of inspectors to inspect 16 educational institutions in Adana under the coordination of the Adana Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crime Bureau (KOM) on Thursday.

Police officers from KOM accompanied inspectors to those institutions by bus from the Adana Police Department despite Education Ministry regulations that permit no inspection of educational institutions by any government body unless coordinated by the ministry.

Today’s Zaman learned on Thursday that police officers also gave the inspectors questionnaires for the administrators and staff of the educational institutions. After the inspections, the reports of these inspectors were collected by the police officers.

When asked by the lawyers of the schools, none of the hundreds of inspectors were able to explain their reasons for inspecting the schools with police. The schools inspired by the Gülen movement, popularly known as the Hizmet movement, including Burç College and Işık prep schools, were also similarly raided by the police along with inspectors in March.

Ahmet Karagöz, head of the Education Personnel Union (Eğitim-Sen) Adana branch, told Today’s Zaman that it is unacceptable to see police officers during an inspection of educational institutions. “There are inspectors in the Education Ministry, and there can be a commission of teachers if there are not sufficient inspectors.” Karagöz said.

Union of Active Educators (Aktif Eğitim-Sen) Adana branch head Ömer Yılmaz also reacted against the inspections coordinated and accompanied by police officers. Yılmaz said that it is the Education Ministry which coordinates inspections when any other state institution or any ministry wants to inspect any educational institution.

‘We did the same thing in February 28 coup era’

Serkan Ulufer, a lawyer for the Işık prep schools, also raided on Thursday, told Today’s Zaman that an inspector from the Ministry of Finance told him during the raids that he shouldn’t bother himself about it, as they did the same kind of inspections of educational institutions in coordination with police during the Feb.28, 1997 coup era. Ulufer said that “unfortunately, those people in the bureaucracy who coordinated inspections on educational institutions [established by conservative people] in Feb.28 are on duty again.”

Underlining the fact that no police officer can enter a private educational institution without a court decision, Ulufer said police officers even pressured inspectors when they couldn’t find anything wrong at the schools, saying, “Why can’t you find anything?”

On Tuesday dozens of inspectors along with at least 300 police officers from KOM units also raided Gülen-inspired schools and prep schools in the central Turkish town of Aksaray.

The raids are part of what is seen as a nationwide crackdown on institutions and individuals sympathetic to the Gülen movement, inspired by the views of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the leadership of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) accused sympathizers of the Gülen movement, especially those in the police force and the judiciary, of orchestrating a graft investigation against him and his inner circle which was revealed on Dec.17, 2013. The Gülen movement denies the charges.

Since the allegations surfaced nearly two years ago, the authorities have escalated raids and shut down or defamed numerous institutions or individuals close to the movement.

Source: Today's Zaman , August 07, 2015


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