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

Albania Ignores Erdogan’s Tirade Against Gulen

Albanian officials have made it clear that Albania is not planning to act on demands by Turkey’s President for the country to close down the Gulen movement.

Turkey harshly criticized by panel in US over press freedom

The government’s recent crackdown on the media was severely criticized during a panel discussion at the National Press Club (NPC) in Washington, D.C.

Bank Asya shares surge after Turkish election results

The AK Party’s failure to secure enough votes to form the government reflects on the stock market, with the politically-seized Bank Asya’s shares observing a 10.75 percent increase at opening on Monday amidst an overall drop in Borsa Istanbul.

Gulen has ‘no intention of leaving the US’

The Alliance for Shared Values “rejects the accusation” by Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus that Gulen is planning a move to Canada, it said in a statement on its website. The Alliance also reiterated its call for an end to attempts to stymie voices of democratic dissent, including journalists, academics, Kurds, liberals and participants in the Hizmet movement.

668 Babies to welcome Eid Al-Adha in Turkish prisons

Six hundred sixty-eight children under the age of 6 will welcome the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha on Friday in jails across Turkey where they are staying with their mothers. There are 149 infants younger than 12 months in prisons.

Egypt’s Turkish schools reject Akşam and A Haber TV reports

The administration of the Turkish Salahaldin International Schools based in Egypt has sent a correction to the Akşam daily and A Haber TV station, stating that two recent reports about Turkish schools in Egypt appearing in the pro-government media outlets were baseless and false.

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

73-year-old says looking after grandchildren as daughter, son-in-law behind bars

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Erdoğan’s aide: Unjust to suggest Hizmet eavesdropped on PM

Scholars: The major problem of the Muslim World is shortage of educated people

Elvan Foods: Our exports extended to 130 countries thanks to Turkish Schools

Erdogan’s Muslim spies: Turkish imams snooping on Merkel’s Germany for President

Fethullah Gülen versus Ayatollah Khomeini?

Copyright 2023 Hizmet News