Erdogan Vows to Replace Gülen Schools Abroad

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (left) with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn at a press conference in Addis Ababa.

ADDIS ABABA (Hurriyet Daily News)—Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has again called on foreign countries to shut down schools operated by supporters of Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, a U.S.-based ally-turned-foe, saying the Turkish state would happily replace those schools.

“I, our prime minister, and our ministers tell the leaders of countries we visit to close these schools, explaining their positions,” Erdogan said on Jan. 22, speaking at a joint press conference with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

His remarks came in response to a question about the private and charter schools operated by supporters of the Gülen movement across over 140 countries, including many in Africa.

Erdogan also said government officials seek to assure these countries that Turkey’s Education Ministry would be able to provide the services given by Gülen schools in these countries.

“The Education Ministry is about to complete its works on this issue,” he added.

On several occasions over the past few years, Erdogan has reportedly urged foreign countries, particularly African countries where Gülen supporters are known to have a strong presence, to be careful about the Gülen movement’s activities, arguing that it uses its schools and charities as a cover for its “dangerous actions.”


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  1. Tuyn said:

    There are countless other valuable properties in Turkey that were confiscated from Armenians, including:

    — The Presidential Palace in Ankara, until recently occupied by Erdogan and previous Turkish presidents, is located on land owned by the Kassabian family.
    — Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport is partly built on land owned by the Kevork Sarian family from Van.
    — The US Air Base at Injirlik is located on land owned by several Armenian families who have filed a lawsuit in US Federal Court against the Turkish government.

    These properties and thousands of others should be returned to their rightful owners as partial restitutive justice Turkey owes to the Armenian people.

  2. Levon Baronian said:

    In response to Tuyn: Turkey should be first forced to pay monetary reparations to EVERY SINGLE ARMENIAN who is descended from Western Armenia for killing their ancestors, regardless of whether we have titles and deeds or not. Then can we talk about private property. Otherwise, our efforts at Armenian Genocide recognition will basically be about recovering private properties of the few among the descendants who have the titles and deeds to these lands and not about justice for our entire people.

    Those who suffered most and were killed on the spot or dragged from their homes, didn’t have an opportunity to take their deeds and titles with them. That’s the last thing they were thinking about.

    No one can argue that Turkey shouldn’t be forced to pay the rightful owners of private property that was confiscated before, during, and after the Armenian Genocide. However, I think that prioritizing this as a first step is unjust to 90% of the Armenian Genocide survivors who don’t have the titles and deeds to their families’ properties and other assets. Armenian Genocide reparations should not be primarily about paying reparations to the owners of unjustly confiscated private property. It should be about justice for EVERY SINGLE Armenian victim in the form of punitive compensation, even if that Armenian victim was a mere peasant with no lands or properties that their descendants can lay claim to today.