Pakistan – Staff expelled from Turkish-backed schools on Erdogan’s demand


Date posted: December 11, 2016

Waqar Gillani

Islamabad: The expulsion of over 100 Turkish staff from a network of Turkish-backed schools has sparked controversy and put the future of more than 11,000 students at stake, parents, teachers and senior students said.

Pakistan ordered 108 teachers and managers employed by Pak-Turk International Schools to leave the country on November 17, following a visit to Islamabad by Turkey’s president Recept Tayyip Erdogan. They were given 72 hours to leave the country.

The schools have been under threat of closure since July because of allegations they are influenced by Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen’s movement, the group believed to be behind a failed coup attempt against Erdogan’s government on July 15.


“If the Turkish government takes over these schools, for sure, it will be partisan and will affect the base of the ideology behind these schools. Also it will be against the local law”


The schools’ Board of Directors has expressed concern over the expulsion order. A statement from board chairman, Alamgir Khan, denied any link to other organisations.

“We also take this opportunity to alleviate the apprehensions of the students and their parents regarding ingress of some alien organization into the teachers and staff of the schools and ensure them of our firm stance against any such design or move,” Khan’s statement said.

Expelled staff had to leave with their families, bringing to 450 the number of people expelled under the order. Some had been living in Pakistan for 20 years, a senior staff member said.

“We are at the mercy of God. Our lives are under threat. If we go to Turkey, we will be jailed straight away. Some of us might be executed too. It seems Erdogan is paranoid after the failed-coup,” the staff member told Truth Tracker, requesting not to be named.

Pak-Turk International Schools and Colleges were set up by an international Turkish non-government organization, the Pak-Turk International Cag Educational Foundation (PakTurk ICEF). The first PTIS school in Islamabad opened in 1995.


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.”


The schools were initially meant to educate Afghan refugees. With the passage of time, they became a successful venture. Currently, the Pak-Turk Education Foundational has 26 schools across Pakistan.

They teach nearly 11,000 students, employ 1500 teachers and more than 100 Turkish staff. The Foundation has been delivering education from preschool to grade 12 according to Pakistani law and curriculum for the last 21 years.

“We fear the Turkish government will try to take over these schools. Parents are worried. There will be no worry if the system continues, but now we are hearing that the schools will be handed over to an organization working under the current Turkish government set up,” Amir Abdullah, president of the Parents Association of PTIS, told Truth Tracker.

“If the Turkish government takes over these schools, for sure, it will be partisan and will affect the base of the ideology behind these schools. Also it will be against the local law,” Adbullah added.

“We will resist any such plan of transferring the management of the schools to another Turkey based international non-governmental organization (NGO) under Turkish government influence.”

Abdullah urged the government to revise its decision, saying the expulsion of so many staff would force thousands students to move to other schools.

The Turkish government has been pressing the government of Pakistan since July to either close down these schools or remove the current management.


A H Nayyer, a researcher and former professor of Quaid e Azam University: “Ideally, Pakistan should have conducted an independent inquiry to evaluate the Erdogan Government’s allegations that the PTIS are promoting fundamentalism. It’s a strange action by Pakistan since plenty of local schools and religious seminaries in Pakistan are spreading extremism and fundamentalism but no action has been taken against them.”


The pressure on Islamabad and other countries to close down or take action against the schools that support the Gulen movement is part of Erdogan’s global campaign of chasing his opponents. Since then, the Turkish government has jailed thousands of suspected Gulen supporters and sacked thousands from jobs for their alleged links to the Gulen movement.

Initially Turkey’s foreign minister visited Islamabad after the failed coup-attempt and urged the Pakistani government to close down the Pak-Turk schools network and expel Turkish staff.

However, the move was widely resisted by parents, students and teachers. Even Islamabad High Court directed the government not to close down schools.  On August 1, a high level Turkish delegation again visited Pakistan, pressing Islamabad to support Ankara’s global crackdown against Gulen’s movement and his supporters and close down the schools.

The PTIS deny the Turkish government’s allegation the network is linked to Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, currently in exile in the USA and a former ally of the ruling AK Party.

“We have no link to this failed coup or this movement. We do not teach extremism and terrorism and we have not produced any terrorist from these schools,” the Turkish staff said.

“However, liking an ideology is not crime and it does not mean that you do whatever that movement wants. We just impart quality and moderate education.”

Amnesty International said Pakistani children would be most hurt by the expulsion.

“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,” Amnesty’s South Asia Director Champa Patel said in a statement, issued after the crackdown against the PTIS.

She said, “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.”

A H Nayyer, a researcher and former professor of Quaid e Azam University Islamabad, told Truth Tracker, “Ideally, Pakistan should have conducted an independent inquiry to evaluate the Erdogan Government’s allegations that the PTIS are promoting fundamentalism.” It’s a strange action by Pakistan since plenty of local schools and religious seminaries in Pakistan are spreading extremism and fundamentalism but no action has been taken against them, he added.

Source: News Lens Pakistan , December 8, 2016


Related News

Don’t Make A Mystic into a Martyr: Fethullah Gülen as Peacebuilder

My conclusion? He’s a mystic in the Sufi tradition of Islam. And like other famous mystics in history—notably Gandhi, or Rumi—from whom Gülen draws deeply, Fethullah Gülen is a peacebuilder. And history teaches us that peacebuilders are likely to be misunderstood, vilified, and targeted. It would be tragic if once again historical forces conspire to turn a mystic into a martyr.

Turkish Schools for a Brighter Future in Somalia

Future of Somalia, striving to combat the famine that the civil war and severe drought left behind, is raised at Somali-Turkish schools in the country. A total of 390 students -30 elementary and 360 high school- are receiving education at three different schools operated by Nile Institutions.

Yamanlar College student becomes world math champion

ISTANBUL Osman Akar, a student from the private Yamanlar College in İzmir, has won a gold medal at the 55th International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO), which was held in Cape Town. Students from 106 countries around the world participated in the event from July 3-13. Akar was among students on a math team chosen by the […]

GYV announces the third international family policy conference

the Third International Family Conference will be held in November 2014 in Istanbul, Turkey. The theme of the conference will be “Family Policies”. the aim of the conference is an in-depth study of all sorts of legal arrangements, administrative decisions and practices laid down by the national and international public organizations and institutions, in order to strengthen the protection of the family as an institution.

Turkey: Democracy in peril – A human rights report

In a springtime of hope, the first decade of the 21st century, Turks and outside observers shared a dream that Turkey might become that bright star in an otherwise muddled constellation of the Middle East—a real democracy in a predominantly Muslim country, committed to civil liberty, human rights, pluralism, and civil society. That hope has disappeared as but a short- lived meteor in the dark, troubled sky. It is no more; and there is little optimism for its return in the foreseeable future. Turkey’s democracy is in regression.

How will prep school controversy influence elections [in Turkey]?

Gülen is a very important opinion leader in Turkey. He is not a politician but the leader of a social movement featuring religious motives. In addition to his followers, conservative people and groups also pay attention to his views and comments. Even those who are opposed to his worldview send their children to the schools set up by his followers because these schools provide very high quality education and training.

Latest News

Crimes Against Humanity in Erdogan’s Turkey

Exiled journalist warns of a genocide in the making in newly released book

Vague terrorism charge used to target supporters of the Gülen movement: UN special rapporteurs

ECtHR urges Albania not to deport Gülen follower to Turkey

Woman detained over links to Gülen movement after giving birth

Formerly Gülen-linked schools in Albania face growing gov’t pressure

Exclusive: Turkey, Kosovo violated fundamental rights of expelled teachers, UN body says

Sacked policeman’s grim death sparks debate on COVID-19 data in Turkish prisons

Dissidents of the Turkish government are living in fear in Canada

In Case You Missed It

Bank Asya: Battle for survival against a presidential onslaught

Renewing Islam by Service: A Christian View of Fethullah Gulen with Pim Valkenberg

Australian NGOs support Gülen against PM Erdoğan’s insults

Recalling Turkey’s ‘post-modern coup’

Kimse Yok Mu soup kitchen to serve weekly hot meal in Somalia

Turkey’s Erdogan and unending human rights repression

C. African president: Turkish school will have no trouble in my country

Copyright 2021 Hizmet News