Turkish govt demands closure of 17 schools in Nigeria

The Turkish ambassador to Nigeria stated that his country does not own any school in Nigeria.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Muhammadu Buhari

Mr Cakil gave the charge when Shehu Sani, vice chairman of the Senate committee on foreign affairs paid him a visit.

The ambassador denied the Turkey's relationship with the school adding that the country does not have any school in Nigeria.

He stated that the schools offer scholarships to children of government officials and sends them to Turkey for continue their university education.

The schools include all Nigerian-Turkey International Colleges (NTIC) in the country.

Mr Cakil said his country would take up the matter to the minister of Education as well as the Federal Executive Council.

“We are requesting the Nigerian Government to close down the schools," the ambassador said.

“I have requested officially, both orally and in writing, the closure of these schools. Also, I have sent a letter to Mr Geoffrey Onyeama (Foreign Minister) and Mr Abba Kyari (Chief of Staff to the President) about this subject and requested their support for the closure of the schools.

“I will also send letters to the Chairmen of Committees on Foreign Affairs in the National Assembly as well as the Senate Majority Leader over the issue and I am going to enclose some documents in English on how the group members are engaged in the army, police and the Judiciary.

“In Nigeria, there are 17 schools, which belong to the Gulen Movement, one in Kano, one in Kaduna, one in Abuja, Lagos etc and they are offering scholarships.

“We are starting some legal procedures to take the name of Turkish out of the name of the schools. They are not the schools of the Turkish Government.

“They are misleading the public and allocating scholarships to the children of the high bureaucracy and after they graduate from school, they send the children to Turkey to attend their universities.

“This is an issue that the Turkish Government has attached so much importance.

“Recently, my Minister called Mr Onyeama and briefed him about these schools because they are raising funds through the schools and they are using these funds for illegal activities.

“This is a matter of national security for us in Turkey. I have instructions from my government to follow up this matter and we will be very happy to obtain the support of Nigerian legislators on that issue.

“You may be aware that the government of Turkey started to investigate those responsible for the coup attempt.

“It is really clear that the Gulen Movement is behind the coup. There are some testimonies by detained military officials.

“They are confessing that they are in connection with the Gulen Movement and they have been members of the Gulen Movement for a long time and they have been planning this coup for a long time, nearly five months.

“The Government of Turkey has started to take some legal actions against the leader of the movement. He is now based in the United States. His extradition is a legal matter between Turkey and United States.

On trade relations between Nigeria and Turkey, the ambassador expressed optimism that the trade between the two countries, which declined due to the drop in oil price, would pick up soon.

Senator Sani urged the Turkish government to operate within the ambit of the law in bringing those responsible for the incidence to book.

Turkey's education ministry had shut down 626 institutions as part of a crackdown on supporters of Fethullah Gulen, a United States based Muslim, cleric accused by the government of masterminding the failed military coup which claimed 200 lives.

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