28 Turkish principals expelled from Gulen linked PakTurk schools

Lahore, Aug. 10 : The management of the PakTurk Schools, linked with US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen's NGO, has removed Turkish principals of 28 schools and colleges of the chain besides dissolving the board of directors (BoD) having representation of Turkish nationals.

The move is being seen to thwart the likely handing over of the control of the school system to any government organisation as Turkey blames Gulen for the last month's failed coup attempt, reports the Dawn.

A senior official of the school said that the Turkish nationals, earlier serving on administrative posts, will now work as teachers and a new six-member BoD with complete local representation had been formed to run the affairs of the schools.

The PakTurk schools are no more registered under the international NGO (PakTurk International Education Foundation) but they will work under a locally-registered PakTurk Education Foundation.

Last week, Islamabad had promised Turkey's visiting Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu that it would investigate the network of schools Ankara wanted shut for its alleged links with Gulen.

Cavusoglu had said, "It is not secret that Gulen's organisation has institutions or their presence in Pakistan and in many other countries.

I am sure the necessary measures will be taken. We have to be very careful with such organisations and their causing risk and threat for the security and stability of every country that they have presence." The senior official added that after such drastic changes in the system, there is no point in to either close down or hand them over to any government's recommended organisation.

"After bringing these schools under a local NGO, the government should stop looking for an excuse to oblige its Turkish counterpart," he said, requesting the Pakistan Government to consult the new BoD.

The chain of 28 schools and colleges is functioning in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Multan, Karachi, Hyderabad, Khairpur, Jamshoro and Quetta.

Of the 1,500 staffers, 150 are Turkish. The Pakistan Government is also facing pressure from the Turkish authorities to expel the Turkish nationals working with the PakTurk schools.

"Some of them have a Pakistani visa valid for a year or two and some have applied for extension," said an official adding that the Turkish staff fears action by the Erdogan administration on their return as Turkey has declared Gulen's organisation a 'terrorist entity' after the coup.

The schools management has also filed a petition in Islamabad and Lahore high courts, seeking orders to stop the Pakistani Government from taking any unlawful step.

Source: ANI