Turkish Schools and Fethullah Gulen


Date posted: June 26, 2004

HÜSEYİN GÜLERCE

Historian Ilber Ortayli made an excellent evaluation of Turkish schools abroad, at the First International University Education Congress, held in Fatih University last week.
According to Mr. Ortayli, Turkey, a country where foreign schools rushed into a hundred years ago, has now reversed the tide. This is a historic achievement showing the greatness of the Turkish nation and our determination to become a great state again.

I would like to convey the opinions of one of our columnists, who attended the graduation ceremonies of the Turkish schools this week:

“There is so much demand for Turkish schools now that only one out of 10 applicants is being admitted. The graduates from Turkish schools, after finishing university, work in the most prestigious establishments in their respective countries, and they ESTABLISH BRIDGES OF FRIENDSHIP AND UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THEIR PEOPLE AND THE TURKS, in every position they hold. Even now, there are people, who graduated from these schools and know TURKISH, working at presidents’ offices, the interior, foreign and education ministries.

“I am thinking on my way back from Kazan… Those unsung heroes, who created the Eurasia miracle, those young teachers, who ventured to spend the best years of their lives at the calm steppes of Kyrgyzstan, Yakutistan, Uzbekistan for the sake of an ideal, leaving behind their families and country thousands of kilometers away. Don’t these people deserve, even if not a share of ‘heroism,’ but a thank you from us?” (Gulay Gokturk, A Graduation Ceremony in Kazan, Dunden Bugune Tercuman newspaper, June 22, 2004).

“A Turkish school in a city set up by Char I. Petro… The Cag Education Association, Russian Education Ministry and St. Petersburg Municipality reached an agreement in Turkey, and thus the school was established nine years ago.

“This school has become a bastion of Turkish language, culture, Turkish-Russian friendship and modern education. This is one of the schools that was established through the encouragement of Fethullah Gulen… These schools are the torches of Turkish cultures.” (Taha Akyol, a Turkish School in Russia, June 23, 2004)

Turkish schools have a history of nearly 15 years. They were first opened in the Eurasian continent after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and then in Africa, the Far East and finally in the United States.

Mr. Fethullah Gulen, who is one of the most prominent and respected leaders of our country, a gutsy man of thought and action, has spent all his working life as a volunteer, giving encouragement to these schools.

Everyone gives encouragement. There may be many people, who help or give encouragement to others, in every field. Hence, the important points to be noted here are: Why is Mr. Gulen’s advice so voluntarily heeded? Why do Turkish entrepreneurs, teachers, administrators have that yearning desire to make great sacrifices for a cause? Why do these people become legendary heroes, while their country is reeling under severe economic crises?

Just like Mr. Ilber Ortayli said, this portrays the greatness of our nation. That’s why these schools are not Fethullah Gulen’s schools but schools belonging to the Turkish nation. But you may say, our great nation, that is again preparing to sign a great civilization and humanity project, has produced a civil society hero like Fethullah Gulen, who keeps abreast with the age. In these lands fed by prayers, this can only be a divine gift. That’s why thousands of volunteers have sprung from every nook and corner of Anatolia in support the Turkish schools.

Like the efforts of the enemies, who dared to associate these schools with terrorism, are all in vain, those who accuse Mr. Gulen of supporting ‘reactionaryism’ and ‘of founding an organization in order to take over state institutions, will not be able to receive the slightest support from our nation — except from their own supporters. Since they cannot find any backing, this great nation will continue to respect and support Mr. Gulen and the Turkish schools…

Source: Today's Zaman , June 25, 2004


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