Date posted: February 2, 2011
Kemal Ilter, Ankara
Turkey’s ambassadors in Central Asia and the Caucasus have written a report in which they state that Fethullah Gulen’s schools in those countries, had been playing a positive role in Turkey’s relations with those governments.
In order to give a new impetus to Turkey’s relations with Central Asian and Caucasian countries the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs held advisory meetings, in which Turkey’s ambassadors to these countries participated, and then a report was prepared. The report said that Fethullah Gulen’s schools in those countries had been playing a positive role in Turkey’s relations with those governments.
The Turkish foreign minister last week organized an advisory meeting, in which Turkey’s ambassadors to Caucasian and Central Asian countries participated. Turkey’s policy regarding this region was evaluated and new strategies determined during the meeting, after which a report was prepared.
The meeting can be seen as an important step, coming at a time of rising criticism within the country that Turkey has been neglecting the Caucasus and Central Asia.
During the meeting ambassadors reportedly said that by giving a high standard of education, these schools had won great respect and prestige in those countries, adding that the leaders of the countries concerned were particularly impressed.
Fethullah Gulen’s group now represents over 500 educational institutions in over 50 countries. While Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit often expresses support for these schools, the National Security Council (MGK) has been criticizing them, claiming that they constitute a threat to the secular regime.
Discussing the issue a senior diplomat said that these schools had been working within the scope of the rules laid down by the different countries.”Turkey has no authority to supervise these schools, since they are officially subordinated to the education minister of the country they are in. Yes, these schools were founded by a private initiative, but they are known as Turkey’s work,” said the same diplomat.
Source: Turkish Daily News , June 29, 2000