Erdogan came to Tanzania, Mozambique and Madagascar believing that if he waved around the prospect of massive investment, the governments would shut down the Gulen schools and give marching orders to the Turkish nationals running them. It turned out at the African states quite like having well-resourced schools catering for the local elites and did not oblige.
Erdogan wants the Gulen-linked schools in Africa to be closed down, yet they are the very educational establishments which are popular with Africa’s middle class. They are an inexpensive alternative to French schools. If parents send their children to Turkish schools, it is not because the schools are Turkish, but because they employ good teachers. Africa’s middle class want good schools.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Tanzania on January 22 to launch a three-nation East Africa tour to crack down against Fethullah Gulen. Erdogan is targeting an international network of charities and schools affiliated with a movement run by US-based Gulen.
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.” 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.
Zouhir Mohammed Kadour, the Director of the Mohammed Al-Fatih School, said, “We are shocked by the announcement of the Interior Ministry […] We’ve worked for the Al-Fatih School Group for 22 years. We followed the Moroccan curriculum, the Moroccan Ministry of Education program, and the school staff is Moroccan.”
Leading academics from various countries discussed the role of movements in the Muslim world and the experiences of the Gulen Movement at Arab League headquarters in Cairo. The conference, jointly held by Cairo University’s economic and political science faculty, Academic Studies and the Internet Foundation from Turkey, and Hira magazine.
No doubt that Turkey’s Schindler’s List today involves members of the Gülen movement who have done nothing wrong other than volunteering their time, money and expertise to improve the lives of people around themselves. They are viciously being demonized and vilified by Turkey’s President Erdoğan because they stood up against this tyrant’s massive corruption dragnet and arming of radical militants in other countries.
The motive behind Maarif Foundation is to use it as a tool to pressurize African countries to transfer ownership of Hizmet movement linked schools to the Maarif Foundation since the request for the closure of these schools were turned down for lacking in merit.
What is the sense in advocating for the transfer of investments of private individuals to a government backed NGO? Is President Erdogan indirectly telling African leaders that his empire in Turkey extends to African countries hence the outrageous demand? From the preceding, it is clear that President Erdogan has little or no respect for African nations hence this anomaly. I also beg to state here that the politics of Turkey should be left in Turkey.
Mr Cemal Yigit, President, Association of Turkish People in Nigeria (ATPEN) said the Nigerian Turkish International College (NTIC) Foundation, an NGO has drilled over 1, 000 boreholes for communities across Nigeria. He said that communities in Yobe and Ogun states were among the beneficiaries of the boreholes.