Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Will Erdogan's Election Victory Impact Pak-Turk Schools in Pakistan?

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has scored a convincing victory over his opponents in the latest municipal polls in Turkey.  His Justice and Development Party (AKP) has won 44% of all the votes, well ahead of the 29% for the opposition People's Republican Party (CHP) which was founded as a secular party by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the father of modern Turkey.

The results of these municipal elections are being seen as a national referendum on Erdogan’s 11-year-old rule after massive street protests by the Opposition against his rule amid a slew of corruption allegations which have threatened to tarnish his reputation. The accusations, taking the form of leaked recordings of conversations mostly featuring the prime minister that were anonymously posted online, prompted Erdogan to crack down on social media and and journalists, according to the Washington Post.

Erdogan has accused his former ally Fethullah Gülen and his Gülen movement of orchestrating the corruption investigations against him and related media leaks as a "foreign conspiracy" against his rule. Gülen lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania and his followers have occupied positions in the police and the judiciary and are said to be leading the corruption investigation.

New York Times has recently reported that Mr. Erdogan's "power struggle with Mr. Gulen has upended Turkish politics, historically defined by the divisions between the secular and religious, by exposing a new fault line between two Islamist traditions that once united to push the military from politics through a series of sensational, and highly contentious, trials".

Gülen movement runs a large network of schools around the world, including a number of successful Pak-Turk schools in Pakistan. Mr. Erdogan is pursuing closure of Gulen schools around the world to punish Fethullah Gulen. In a recent television interview, Erdogan said he was in touch with Pakistani officials to shut down Pak-Turk Schools. In his TV interview, Erdoğan said the only topic of a recent meeting with Shahbaz Sharif was the activities of these schools in Pakistan. There are 18 Gülen-affiliated schools in Pakistan under the name Pak-Turk schools, according to Turkey's Hurriyet Daily News

Gulen has tens of thousands of American children attending his schools.  In a CBS 60 Minutes segment last year, here's how correspondent Leslie Stahl described Gulen schools in the United States: "Over the past decade scores of charter schools have popped up all over the U.S., all sharing some common features. Most of them are high-achieving academically, they stress math and science, and one more thing: they're founded and largely run by immigrants from Turkey who are carrying out the teachings of a Turkish Islamic cleric: Fethullah Gulen". CBS report said Gulen schools in the United States have 20,000 students enrolled with 30,000 more on waiting list. The growing popularity of Turkish charter schools has drawn suspicion and criticism of various groups in the United States. 

Erdoğan has also spoken to US President Barack Obama about his concerns over the activities of Fethullah Gulen.  “I told Obama [during a recent phone conversation] that the person who is responsible for the unrest in Turkey lives in your country, in Pennsylvania. I told him this clearly. I said, ‘I expect what’s necessary [to be done].’ You have to take the necessary stance if someone threatens my country’s security,” Erdoğan said during an interview on private broadcaster ATV late March 6. “[Obama] looked at it positively. ‘We got the message,’ he said,” he added. 

Gulen schools have a good reputation. They are serving a large student population all over the world. My hope is that they will continue to get the education they need and deserve. One way to resolve it might be to transfer management of such schools and still keep them operating to deliver quality education. 

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Can Turkish Soaps and Schools Counter Saudi Influence? 

Turkey, Pakistan and Secularism

Pakistan Media Revolution

Violent Social Revolution in Pakistan

Clash of Ideas in Islam

Upwardly Mobile Pakistan

 Silent Social Revolution in Pakistan

The Eclipse of Feudalism in Pakistan

Social and Structural Transformations in Pakistan

Malala Moment: Profiles in Courage-Not!

Urbanization in Pakistan Highest in South Asia

Rising Economic Mobility in Pakistan

Upwardly Mobile Pakistan


Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan prepares to shut down highly successful #Pak-#Turk schools run by Gülen


The Pakistani government is moving toward taking steps against the 21 Gülen schools that operate in the country through exploiting Pakistanis' positive opinions of Turkey

The Pakistani government is moving toward shutting down schools and colleges affiliated with the U.S.-based imam Fethullah Gülen's movement. He is among Turkey's most wanted suspects and Turkey is exerting effort to obtain an international arrest warrant for him since the movement attempted to overthrow the government by infiltrating the police, judiciary and other key state institutions. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has pushed the Pakistani government to join in efforts against the movement through the closure of Gülen schools in Pakistan. The Pak-Turk schools are widespread in the country.

There are 21 Gülen-affiliated schools facing closure from the government. There are hundreds of students enrolled in these schools as parents have the general perception that the schools are administered by the Turkish government, even though they are not. The schools were established back in 1995 and run under the auspices of the Pak Turk Foundation. Pak-Turk schools are among the most expensive private institutions in Pakistan, where the private school industry has become a cartel mafia, fleecing parents. Pak-Turk's administration claims they are playing a vital role in helping make relations between Turkey and Pakistan stronger and promoting the Turkish language. However, people in Pakistan are not aware of the Gülen Movement's actions to undermine Erdoğan's legitimate rule. Gülen schools and colleges are spreading the Gülenist agenda and preaching, which is an open contradiction to modern Turkish values and lifestyles.

Pakistan is a country that already has a conservative mindset as well as strong divisions between certain communities, making it all the more alarming that Gülen schools are promoting a culture of segregated society in the country. The schools have a strong concept of segregation between males and female students, and they even practice this in their private lives. According to Gülen school students, they are called on for a couple of days to stay at the school and are not allowed to go home in the combine study circle classes, which is actually an intensive indoctrination of the Gulenist ideology. During these classes, Gülen's preaching and lectures are delivered by the Turkish teachers. DVDs and cassettes containing speeches and lectures by Gülen are distributed among the students, and those students who listen more are awarded special prizes up to as much as 5,000 RS (TL 75, 212).

Riaz Haq said...

#Turkey asks #Pakistan to shut Pak-Turk schools run by #Gulen via @firstpost


Turkey has asked Pakistan to shut all institutions being run by Fethullah Gulen -- the US-based cleric whom Ankara accuses of masterminding and backing the 16 July failed military coup attempt in that country, a media report said on Saturday.

“We have called on all friendly countries to prevent activities of this (Gulen’s) group,” Dawn news online quoted Turkish Ambassador Sadik Babur Girgin as saying here at a media briefing on developments in Turkey.
He said the Turkish government had "solid evidence" that Gulen’s movement was behind the plot.
In Pakistan, Gulen runs a network of about 21 schools and Rumi Forum -- an intellectual and intercultural dialogue platform, in addition to having business stakes. His organisations and businesses have been operating in Pakistan for decades, Dawn news online reported.
Noting that Gulen had a “big presence in Pakistan”, Girgin said that Turkey was in close contact with Pakistani authorities. “We have had good cooperation with Pakistan in every field.”
The Turkish government has sought Gulen’s extradition from the US, and said the evidence asked by the US had been provided to the American authorities.
Gulen, a former ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has been living in self-imposed exile in the US since 2013, when Erdogan accused him of promoting corruption scandals against his government.
Since then, the Turkish government has included the influential cleric on its list of most wanted terrorists and sought his extradition for judicial trial that could result in life imprisonment.