Date posted: September 1, 2015
Police officers and inspectors from 15 government agencies have raided Gülen-inspired private schools in the western province of Manisa for the third time, as part of a government-orchestrated operation targeting the faith-based Gülen movement, popularly known as the Hizmet movement.
Manisa was among five provinces where the private and prep schools were raided on Aug. 26. The same schools in Manisa, including a kindergarten, were raided again on Aug. 27.
On Monday, officers from the Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crime Bureau accompanied by inspectors from government bodies such as the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, the Finance Ministry, the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, the Gediz Electricity Distribution Company, the Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate (AFAD), the Turkish Standards Institution (TSE) and the Social Security Institution (SGK) raided the Şehzade Mehmet Primary and Secondary Schools.
Speaking to the Cihan news agency, a principal of one of the schools, Giray Kara, said, “What worries us [in school management] is that the students here for summer courses feel uneasy,” and added: “How many schools have been inspected this like this in Manisa, or in Turkey, with a number of officers stationed outside? Can these inspections really be considered routine when they are accompanied by police?” Addressing the inspectors, he asked, “Were your consciences clear during the inspections?” and continued: “These operations are not carried out on schools but on the futures of the 1,200 students being educated in Manisa. We will continue to educate them, no matter what.”
In the western province of Bursa, 47 Gülen-inspired private and prep schools and the offices of 15 businesspeople said to be supportive of the movement were also raided by police and inspectors on Monday.
A number of private and prep schools sympathetic to the Gülen movement have been targeted by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government after major graft investigations that implicated President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other high-ranking AK Party figures were made public on Dec. 17 and 25, 2013. Then-Prime Minister Erdoğan accused the Gülen movement of using the investigations in an attempt to overthrow his government.
In May 2014, Erdoğan publicly advised AK Party supporters not to send their children to schools inspired by the movement, vowing, “We will not even give water [to the movement’s members].” He has also said he would carry out a “witch hunt” against anyone with any links to the Gülen movement. Erdoğan has also ordered officials in AK Party-run municipalities to seize land and buildings belonging to those inspired by the movement by any means necessary. The Gülen movement strongly denies the allegations and no indictment has been brought against it.
Source: Today's Zaman , August 31, 2015