The Government of Turkey has called on the Nigerian Government to shut down schools and other establishments in the country purportedly owned by Turkey as these organizations were owned by suspected terrorists.
Turkey said it had officially notified Nigeria of “the existence of 17 of such schools in Nigeria, which bear the name of Turkey” but were not owned by the European country.
The country said the institutions were allegedly owned by the Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organisation, allegedly founded by Fethullah Gulen, the man accused by the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, of sponsoring the recent failed coup attempt in the country.
Hakan Cakil, Turkey’s Ambassador to Nigeria, made these revelations when the Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Shehu Sani, paid him a visit at his office in Abuja.
Cakil said Turkey does not own any school in Nigeria, adding that similar schools established in Turkey had been shut down.
A document released by the Turkish embassy listed the indicted schools and institutions as Surat Educational Limited, Abuja; Nigerian-Turkish International School, in Abuja, Kaduna, Kano, Yobe, Ogun and Lagos; and the Nigerian-Turkish Nile University, Abuja.
Others, according to the embassy, are 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.
According to the ambassador, confessions by the coup plotters, who are currently under investigation, have indicated that the same syndicate, which hatched the botched July 15, 2016 coup, own the schools in Nigeria.
The ambassador said, “You may be aware that the Government of Turkey has started to investigate the sponsors of the coup and it is now very clear that Gulen was behind the coup. There are some testimonies we have taken from the military officials,
“In Nigeria, they have 17 schools; some of them are in Kano, Abuja, Lagos, etc., and they are offering scholarships to their graduates. They are not Turkish government schools. The schools bearing “Turkish” are schools belonging to Fethullah Gulen,
“We are starting a legal process to take the name ‘Turkish’ out of the name of the schools. They are not the schools of the Turkish government; they are misleading the public.”
The ambassador said he had contacted the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and had requested officially for the closure of these schools.
“Also, I have informed Mr. Geoffrey Onyema and Mr. Abba Kyari on this subject, requesting their support on closing down the schools,” Cakil said.
He said Turkey attached “too much importance” to the issue, adding that “We cannot claim to be a democracy and harbour people who will overthrow government in another country.”
Daily Post reported that the Director of Press and Public Communication of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Clement Aduku, however, said he was not aware of the letter by the Turkish mission.