Recep Erdogan, President of Turkey, has advised parents in Nigeria and other countries in Africa to withdraw their children from Turkish-run schools across the continent because the schools are run by those he described as terrorists.
In an exclusive interview with AllAfrica.com before a three-country official visit to Sudan, Chad and Tunisia this week, Mr. Erdogan said the schools are run by an organisation that uses education as a façade to hide their real intent.
According to him, the schools are linked to United States based Cleric, Fethullah Gulen, a former ally of Mr Erdogan turn arch-rival.
Gulen was accused of being the mastermind of the July 2016 attempted coup that left 250 people dead.
Erdogan said “Without any further ado, I will like to mention something. Whether your nephews, nieces and your children, do not send them to either one of these network schools.
“Education is just a disguise for the terrorists working for these organisations, even religion is a disguise for the Fethullahists. In the Quran, Allah condemned those who are using prayers as disguised as they will never be conscientious to the practice of prayer that is why we would remain alert. We would never be manipulated. The coup plotters are the Fethullahists.
“They have all been identified and some of them have been sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment. These Fethullahists came to kill me and my family members but Allah protected us and in a matter of minutes we were saved from their bombs, their attacks but two of my security guarded were killed… there are 29 martyrs around the presidential complex which was attacked that night as well.
“We are warning all our brothers in Africa not to be deceived because the Fethullahists have great sums of money out of their actions. In 1999, the Chief terrorist, fled to the United States to live in Pennsylvania. We have demanded his extradition immediately.
“The Turkish government has established an education foundation to take control of the schools linked with Mr. Gulen. Many African countries, including Nigeria have, however, turned down Mr. Erdogan’s requests to either take control or close schools linked to Mr Gulen.
“Soon after the attempted coup, the Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria, Hakan Cakil, called on the Nigerian government to close 17 Turkish schools. His request was however turned down by the government.”