Kazakh leader heads to Turkey to explain decision over Gulen schools


Date posted: August 5, 2016

Naubet Bisenov

President Nursultan Nazarbayev started an official visit to Turkey on August 5, the Kazakh presidential press service said, confirming earlier reports by Turkish media of the visit. Nazarbayev is Central Asia’s first leader to line up to reassure Recep Tayyip Erdogan of his backing for the increasingly authoritarian Turkish president following the failed coup on July 15.

The official announcement did not provide any details about the visit, but Nazarbayev is expected to smooth over any disagreements between the two Turkic countries following the failed coup, which has been blamed on exiled US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen and his sympathisers in Turkey. Ankara has demanded that Kazakhstan shut down a chain of 27 Kazakh-Turkish schools believed to be linked to the Gulenist movement. But Kazakhstan’s education authorities have rejected the Turkish ambassador’s calls to shut down the schools. Despite being a close ally of Turkey, Kazakhstan fiercely resists attempts by any foreign countries to interfere in its domestic affairs.

By contrast, Azerbaijan, another close ally of Turkey, has quickly moved to block a private broadcaster over plans to air an interview with the cleric on July 18 and to take over Gulen-linked Qafqaz University (University of the Caucasus).

The Turkish authorities have also demanded that Kyrgyzstan shut down institutions believed to be sponsored by the Gulenist movement and warned that its alleged members have plans to carry out a coup in the country, which has seen two bloody overthrows of government since 2005.

The Kazakh Education and Science Ministry said the Kazakh-Turkish schools would continue to operate, because they have nothing to do with Turkey and compose their education programmes based on Kazakh and international standards. “The Katev international public foundation supervising the lyceums was set up by a bilateral education agreement between Kazakhstan and Turkey with support from Presidents Nursultan Nazarbayev and Turgut Ozal,” the ministry explained. “The lyceums employ 1,124 teachers, of whom 1,030 are Kazakh citizens (91.7%) and 94 are Turkish citizens (8.3%).” Kazakhstan also has the Suleyman Demirel University, opened in Almaty by Katev in 1996.

The ministry also said that 1,634 children finished such schools this year, scoring 102.3 points out of 125 possible in school-leaving tests. All 27 are among the top 100 schools in Kazakhstan. “Kazakh-Turkish lyceums have their own place in the Kazakh education sphere and their activities should not be linked to the political situation in other countries. No one outside has the right to pressure them – these are Kazakh schools and Kazakh citizens,” the ministry said.

“We officially assure that the lyceums and the Katev foundation have no links to governments, organisations and individuals of other countries,” Katev said.

Turkish ambassador Nevzat Uyanik said that the Turkish government has sponsored only the Yassawi International Kazakh-Turkish University in Turkistan in the South Kazakhstan Region and that other educational establishments using “Turkish” in their names had nothing to do with official Turkish bodies.

“This is absurd”

In response to the Turkish allegations, Kyrgyzstan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said claims by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu that the Central Asian country is “a base of Gulen supporters” where Gulenists could instigate a coup were “incorrect”. In Kyrgyzstan, like in Kazakhstan, Gulen’s main source of influence is his network of 15 Kyrgyz-Turkish schools across the country.

“We are sympathetic to the concerns of Turkish officials. However, we would like to remind that Kyrgyzstan, in particular, is an independent sovereign state, which is itself in a position to understand and decide what is good and what is bad for it. We believe it is at least incorrect, when the minister of foreign affairs of a country tells another state about the need to take certain steps, while using the language of ultimatums and blackmail,” the Kyrgyz foreign ministry said.

The ministry stressed that Kyrgyz authorities were “studying carefully” a statement they received from the Turkish government about the activities of Gulen schools in Kyrgyzstan. “If necessary, we will take appropriate and timely measures… but we emphasise that all this is exclusively an internal affair of our country,” Kyrgyzstan echoed the Kazakh authorities.

“This is absurd. [Cavusoglu] needs to sort out what is happening in his country that they missed a coup d’etat in their country,” Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev retorted.

Unlike Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan is in a stronger position to pursue an independent domestic and foreign policy, as its relative oil-based wealth makes it a little more attractive than its impoverished southern neighbour.

In order to sweeten the pill in Ankara, Nazarbayev is expected to boast about the role he and his diplomacy played in the recent rapprochement between Turkey and Russia following the downing of a Russian jetfighter by Turkey in November 2015. Erdogan was grateful to Nazarbayev for this “priceless” contribution to normalising Turkish-Russian relations, Kazakh media reported in late June.

Source: BNE Intellinews , August 5, 2016


Related News

It is a great loss that Turkish Olympiads were not held in Turkey

The efforts of Justice and Development Party (AK Party) municipalities and districts to ensure that the Turkish Olympiads were not held in Turkey this year led to some strong reaction. Former Foreign Minister Yaşar Yakış, also one of the founders of the AK Party, expressed his sorrow about the obstacles that were deliberately manufactured to hinder the organization of the event.

Jailed journalist facing new trial for not calling Gülen movement a terror organization

Journalist Emre Soncan, who has been behind bars for 20 months, is facing a new trial for not describing the Gülen movement as a terrorist organization. Soncan, 36, used to work for Turkey’s best-selling Zaman daily, which was closed down by the Turkish government in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 due to its links to the Gülen movement.

Turkish gov’t planning slaughter of jailed Gülen followers in staged riot, lawyer claims

The Turkish government is headed for mass killings of people jailed over alleged or real links to the Gülen movement, in a staged riot in Silivri prison, a lawyer representing a former police chief imprisoned as part of a crackdown against the movement claimed, underlining that he is worried about the lives of his clients.

Gov’t’s hate campaign against Kimse Yok Mu draws condemnations

Various segments of the society, including politicians, volunteers and legal experts, continue to express frustration at a recent government decision to remove the status of public interest of Kimse Yok Mu, the largest volunteer and global aid organization based in Turkey.

Can resurrecting the caliphate solve Muslims’ problems?

The recent terrorist attacks in Paris once more brought up the issue of how homegrown terrorism is shaping up to be one of the most striking elements of today’s terror threat, as former US Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano predicted in 2011.

Nigeria Gives 7-Day Ultimatum to Turkish Government to Release Over 50 Nigerian Students Held in Detention

The House of Representatives on Tuesday issued a seven-day ultimatum to Turkish Government to release over 50 Nigerian students being held in detention. The House called on the federal government to urgently deploy all diplomatic options to ensure their immediate release.

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

‘Turkish people not silly to believe slanderous news about Gülen’

Ahmet Şık’s book and Ergenekon’s media campaign (3)

New Jersey’s Peace Islands Institute Holds Iftar At Community Center

Turkey’s crisis deepens

Toward a party state

President Obama sends message to Gulen-inspired International Cultural Festival

Islamic scholar Gülen responds to Turkish PM’s ‘lair’ remark in heated row over graft probe

Copyright 2021 Hizmet News