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.

Riaz Haq said...

BBC News - #Pakistan orders expulsion of #Turkish teachers at 'Gulen-linked' schools as #Erdogan visits #Islamabad


Pakistan has ordered more than 100 Turkish teachers at a chain of international schools to leave the country, with their families, by the end of the week.
The teachers work at 28 PakTurk schools which Turkey says are linked to US-based Turkish preacher Fethullah Gulen. The schools deny this.
Turkey accuses Mr Gulen of being behind July's failed coup, a claim he rejects.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, visiting Pakistan, welcomed the move.
In a statement, PakTurk International Schools and Colleges said the teachers and their families, who totalled about 450 people, had been asked to leave because of "non-approval of their requests for extension of visa".
What is the Gulen movement?
Who was behind Turkey coup attempt?
Pakistan's interior ministry has so far not commented.
The expulsions are not expected to stop the functioning of the schools as most staff members are Pakistani.
A petition by the school management challenging the decision is to be heard by the Islamabad High Court on Thursday, Pakistani media report.
Mr Erdogan described the decision by Pakistan as "very pleasing".

"They moved rapidly in the direction of ending the [Gulen movement's] presence in Pakistan and toward thwarting their attempts at unrest," he said at Ankara airport as he left for Pakistan.
"As you know, Pakistan has asked persons linked to the organisation to leave the country by November 20. This is very pleasing for us."
According to Pakistan's Dawn newspaper, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu raised the issue of the schools during a visit to Pakistan in August and was told the matter would be investigated.
The Gulen movement, which the Turkish government has declared a terrorist organisation, runs schools all over the world.
Since July's failed coup, Turkey has cracked down on any individuals or groups believed to have links to Fethullah Gulen.
Tens of thousands of people from every level of society have been purged from their jobs, including senior military officers, government officials and school teachers.
Critics of President Erdogan say he has used the coup attempt as a way of removing his opponents.

Riaz Haq said...

4 Pakistani students score big at Intel science fair
3 students among 6 who represented Pakistan at global contest were from schools run by Turkish foundation in country


Four young Pakistani students secured places at the world's largest pre-college science fair, Intel ISEF, held in the U.S. last week.

Pakistan was represented by six students at the world's largest fair of its kind, including three from Pak-Turk Maarif International Schools, run in Pakistan by a Turkish foundation.

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) is the world's largest international pre-college science competition and is held in Phoenix, Arizona featuring over 1,800 students from more than 80 countries, regions, and territories.

Sadaf Naushad, from the Pak-Turk Maarif school, was one of six Pakistani students who presented their science projects at the fair and won a special prize in the field of energy and also got a scholarship at Arizona state University with a cash prize for the grand prize.

Ahmed Zafar and Usaid Ahmed from Karachi and Mian Affan Anwar from Rawalpindi also won prizes and scholarships in the global competition.

"I’m very happy, My family, friends, and colleagues are very happy for my success being recognized there on such a big platform," Sadaf Naushad from Karachi’s Pak-Turk Maarif School told Anadolu Agency.

It’s really a big achievement for my project," she added.

Sadaf’s award-winning project was a dual-purpose highway turbine.

The turbine is a vertical axis wind turbine project that serves two purposes by utilizing the wind produced by a vehicle’s movement along the highway as well as the natural wind.

Speeding vehicles on highways can provide enough wind to power the turbines 24 hours without stopping.

The energy generated can be used for lighting along highways attached to the turbine and also extract water from underground for irrigation.

"The aims of the project is to reduce electricity consumption and generate electricity as a renewable resource to promote greenery near Pakistan's highways," Sadaf explained.

Highway turbines have already been installed in Turkey, but Sadaf's innovation is to pump underground water for irrigation.

Sadaf thanked Turkey’s Maarif Foundation, her teachers, and school administration for their support, saying that Maarif always promote STEM education and encourages teachers and students to participate in competitions, unlike many other schools.

Maarif announcement for students and teachers

Selahattin Batur, the Maarif Foundation's director in Pakistan, announced a special visit to Turkey for the students and teachers who took part in Intel ISEF.

"It’s a great honor that three students among all six participants from Pakistan in the global competition were from Maarif schools," Batur told Anadolu Agency.

All three students and their teachers will be awarded a one-week trip to Turkey, he announced.

Batur said his administration would encourage and support Maarif students entering competitions on the national and international level in the future as well.

Currently the Maarif Foundation is running 28 schools in Pakistan.

Turkey established the Maarif Foundation in 2016 after a coup attempt by the Fetullah Terrorist Group (FETO), a terror group that uses overseas schools as a revenue stream.

Maarif has taken over dozens of the terror-linked schools and reformed their administration and curriculum.