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

Purge accelerates Islamist radicalization in Turkey

The ongoing purge leaves no room for doubt that the Turkish government is ready to go to any lengths to eliminate the Gülen movement. The current rise in homegrown Islamist radicalization is another sign that Turkey’s social fabric is undergoing a noxious change. The major effect of this change has been damage to the traditional mainstream understanding of Islam in Turkey.

Erdoğan’s imaginary power struggles

When we look at international media coverage of the recent corruption scandal in Turkey, we see that the events are generally seen as a “power struggle” between the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and the Hizmet movement.

Most Turkish asylum seekers in Netherlands Gülen followers

Wil Eikelboom, head of the Association of Dutch Lawyers and Asylum Lawyers (VAJN), said in October that his country recognised the right to asylum for followers of Gülen.

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.

Amnesty International: Malaysia’s extradition puts three Turkish men at risk of torture

“By sending these three men suspected of links to Fethullah Gülen back to Turkey, the Malaysian authorities have put their liberty and well-being at risk. They have already suffered a harrowing ordeal, being arbitrarily detained and held incommunicado. Now, they have been extradited to Turkey, where they could face arbitrary detention, unfair trial and a real risk of torture.”

The Turkish assassin is a product of Tayyip Erdogan’s incitement

Karlov’s murderer was Mevlüt Mert Altintas. He did not grow up in a vacuum. Five years ago, Erdogan acknowledged his goal was “to raise a religious generation.” Altintas is its product. He was seven years old when Erdogan came to power; his whole schooling was under Erdogan. If history is any pattern, the violence in Turkey is just beginning and Erdogan will not be able to contain it, even if he is inclined to try.

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

25-year-old woman escapes Turkey’s witch-hunt as Bosnia grants asylum

Turkish schools in Azerbaijan join SOCAR-financed int’l education complex

Watson points to new authoritarianism in Turkish gov’t’s relations

PM Erdoğan calls on his supporters to boycott [Hizmet’s] prep schools

Turkey’s Kurdish question and the Hizmet movement

Turkish students win Int’l Environmental Project Olympiad medal

American reporters got an intriguing glimpse into the political mind-set in Turkey

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News