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Owners Of Turkish Schools In Nigeria Deny Terrorism Allegations
Owners of the Nigeria Turkish International College, NTIC, have denied allegations by the Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria that the schools were owned by terrorists and asking the federal government to close them down.
Managing Director of the college, Orhan Kermit, issued a statement on Friday urging the Nigerian government to disregard the allegations as the ambassador’s statement was flawed with ulterior motives.
Kermit said the school is a privately funded institution by a group of Turkish investors and has nothing to do with the Turkish government.
He described the school which was founded in 1998 as only Turkish in Name but Nigerian in deeds and operates on a philosophy of dialogue, love and tolerance.
“The general public is at the moment urged to ignore and disregard the statement by the Turkish ambassador. Our school is fully functional and would continue to be,” Kermit wrote in the statement.
A document released by the Turkish embassy in Nigeria had listed a number of Turkish-owned schools and institutions which it alleged were owned by suspected terrorists who sponsored the failed coup in the European country in mid-July.
The schools included: Surat Educational Limited, Abuja; Nigerian-Turkish International School in Abuja, Kaduna, Kano, Yobe, Ogun and Lagos; and the Nigerian-Turkish Nile University, Abuja.
Also indicted by the Turkish embassy were: The Association of Businessmen and Investors of Nigeria and Turkey/Abinat, Abuja and Lagos; Ufuk Dialogue Foundation, Abuja; Nigerian-Turkish Nizamiye Hospital, Abuja; and Vefa Travel Agency, Abuja.
Meanwhile, a check on the social media handle of one of the Turkish establishments listed by the embassy, UFUK dialogue, showed that the group had released a statement condemning the failed coup that occurred on July 15.
The UFUK dialogue in a statement on 18 July, three days after the coup attempt, said, “We, Ufuk dialogue, strongly condemn the attempted military coup that occurred in Turkey… and reiterate that there is no place for military interventions in democracy.”
Though the group admitted being loyal to Fethulah Gulen, the man accused by the Turkish President, Recep Erdogan, for the failed coup, it maintained that Gulen was innocent.
“President Erdogan and his close circles’ blame on the Hizmet Movement is very irresponsible and concerning. We hope that Turkey will overcome these difficult days and take this sad incident as an opportunity to strengthen its democracy,” the statement added.