Erdogan targets Hizmet inspired schools on Africa visit


Date posted: January 22, 2017

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Turkey has courted Africa for more than a decade, boosting trade, opening more than two dozen new embassies and Turkish Airlines routes and dispatching aid to conflict-torn Somalia. More recently, the Turkish government lobbied African nations to close or take over local schools linked to Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, accused by Turkey of masterminding a failed coup attempt last year.

So while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan travels with a big business delegation to Tanzania, Mozambique and Madagascar this week, he is also focusing on what he calls a security threat. Turkey accuses international schools inspired by Gulen of providing militant recruits for his movement, which in turn says an increasingly authoritarian government is casting as wide a net as possible for perceived opponents.

“It is only expected that they are trying to fight the battle in Africa with the Gulenists,” said Ahmet Kasim Han, an associate professor of international relations at Kadir Has University in Istanbul.

“There is also the understanding that the existing Gulenist networks in the West are harder to take on because of Turkey’s capability limitations in the West, especially when it comes to influence and imagery problems,” Han said.

Turkey, a NATO member repairing frayed ties with Russia, has a sometimes testy relationship with old allies in the West over Turkey’s human rights record and other matters. The overtures to Africa are partly an effort to build Turkey’s international profile as a partner and counter to global powers on a continent with a bitter history of Western colonialism and Cold War-era conflict.

Turkey’s involvement in Africa feeds into the Turkish ruling party’s “self-perception as the protector of Muslims and Muslim minorities around the world,” said Sener Akturk, associate professor in the international relations department at Koc University in Istanbul.

And winning African support dovetails with Erdogan’s argument that the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council — the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia — “do not represent and do not serve the world” and the U.N. should be reformed, Akturk said.

Shortly before leaving for Tanzania on Sunday, Erdogan said he planned to talk to African leaders about the “intense activities” of the Gulen movement on the continent.

“Sensitivities toward this organization and its intentions are increasing within friendly African countries,” said Erdogan, who ends his trip on Wednesday. “There is no longer the possibility for these bands of murderers to hide, claiming dialogue, service, education and trade.”

On Jan. 9, Erdogan said Gulen’s organization previously had schools in 115 countries, and that Gambia was among six nations that had shut them. Schools in the African countries of Guinea, Somalia, Chad, Senegal, Mauritania, Niger and Gabon have been transferred to Turkish government control, he said.

The schools follow national curricula, serve children through high school and are popular with local elites because of good academic results. They deny any link to the botched military uprising in Turkey in July that led to a purge of alleged loyalists of Gulen, a U.S.-based critic of Erdogan who had expanded his international influence with a message of interfaith harmony.

The schools once had the approval of Erdogan’s government, whose former alliance with Gulen partly derived from joint opposition to the hard-line secular circles that had ruled Turkey. The partnership evolved into an increasingly acrimonious rivalry several years ago.

In Ethiopia, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said this month that schools linked to Gulen will be transferred to Turkish government control. He said he discussed the matter with Erdogan during a visit by the Turkish president.

“I told him that if there is something wrong with the establishment of the schools, then he should give us a way out how to keep the schools running,” the prime minister said. “They agreed on this and they have set up a foundation.”

In Tanzania, 11 schools in the Feza system inspired by Gulen have a total of 3,000 students, just over half of them Muslim.

Turkish diplomats have tried to “convince government officials to give these schools as a gift to Erdogan during his visit,” Feza director Ibrahim Yunus said in an email to The Associated Press. He dismissed the allegation that the schools are a security threat.

Some parents asked the Feza system to start a university, and the Tanzanian government allocated land 60 kilometers (37 miles) north of Dar es Salaam for the institution, according to Yunus.

Turkey’s crackdown on suspected supporters of Gulen has undermined the plan.

“Unfortunately, because of the purge on businesspeople in Turkey, we are having difficulty in finding donors for that project,” Yunus said.


Associated Press writers Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey and Elias Meseret in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia contributed.


Related News: Erdoğan’s fight against education in Africa

 

Source: The Daily Progress , January 22, 2017


Related News

Turkish aid organization opens school in Somalia

Education Minister Ahmed Aydiid Ibrahim of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia also spoke at the ceremony, stating his thanks for Turkey’s efforts to establish schools, hospitals and education centers in the East African nation. 1 January 2012 / TODAY’S ZAMAN , İSTANBUL Turkish aid organization Kimse Yok Mu opened a school on Saturday in […]

Aydan Meydan from Bosna Sema School won the “Inspiring Educator Award”!

The final competition of the Google Science Fair 2015 was held on the 21st of September in Mountain View (California), in the main headquarters of Google Corporation. 20 projects of young scientists from all around the world were presented at this prestigious competition. The finalists represented 10 countries. According to the number of projects, they […]

Critics say Turkish government using US mosques to play politics, spy on foes

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent re-election is fueling concerns about his growing powers not just in Turkey but here in the U.S., according to experts who believe he’s determined to spread his controversial brand of Islamist-nationalistic fervor through a network of mosques and religious centers.

Peace ambassador students conquer hearts at European Parliament

The Gala of the 13th International Language and Culture Olympics’ Brussels closing leg was hosted by the European Parliament, featuring 200 students from Turkish schools across the globe.

Nigerian Turkish Nile University: Moulding the Lives of Young Nigerians

Nigerian Turkish Nile University, in its vision, hopes to grow into a vanguard university that gains the respect of the world through academic excellence by providing the highest quality university education for students from around the globe. Located in the heart of Abuja, the nation’s capital, the NTNU boasts of a clean academic environment and a friendly atmosphere.

Why Gulen Should Not Be Extradited

To extradite Gulen would not only imply a high chance of an unfair trial, but would also sound the death knell of a blueprint for global peace. Gulen’s ideas have all the potential for a global approach to peace-building. John L. Esposito, a professor at Georgetown University and a highly respected expert on Islam, called Gulen’s initiatives “extraordinarily unique”, and suggested it would be “wise” for other Muslim movements to emulate them.

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

A battle for power in Turkey faces resistance in Senegal

4th Legislative Reception in Richmond

Kimse Yok Mu medical volunteers in the Philippines

Mr. Fethullah Gülen’s interview for Moskovskiy Komsomolets newspaper

“It was so cold, it felt like an arrow through my heart”

Arrested Turkish Development

Becoming a Dialogue Movement: What Can Dialogue Learn from Other Movements?

Copyright 2024 Hizmet News