BY Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Turkish Ambassador-designate to Nigeria, Melih Ulueren has explained the reason why Turkey is pursing the establishment of the Turkish Maarif Foundation (TMF) in Nigeria.
Ulueren, who is barely two weeks old in the country, disclosed that Turkey seeks to bring on board the Maarif Foundation in Nigeria with a view to confiscating FETO-operated schools and providing better and quality education for Nigerian students.
He was speaking at a pre-press conference on the 2nd anniversary of the botched bloody coup attempt of July 15, 2016, which claimed the lives of 250 Turkish citizens.Â
Renowned scholar, Fetullah Gulen, who is currently taking refuge in the United States of America, has been fingered as the sponsor of the failed group.
The envoy, described the coup of July 15, 2016 as the worst incident in Turkeyâ€™s history, adding that the Fetullah movement was a terrorist organisation that had spread in more than 160 countries around the World, through schools, NGOâ€™s, lobbyists, media outlets and companies.
The Ambassador-designate, stated that there was need to checkmate the indoctrination of pupils, particularly in schools owned by FETO, hence the establishment of the Maarif FoundationÂ in 2016, â€œaimed at assuming ownership of those schools operated by FETO in different countries of the world and not to have them shut downâ€.
He said: â€œTurkey understands the needs of Nigerian students and their families. To prevent the closure of these schools, Turkish Maarif Foundation, a public foundation was established in 2016. The aim of Maarif Foundation is to assume the ownership of the schools but never to close them. Nigerian teachers will keep their jobs (with a probable reasonable increase in salaries). The Maarif Foundation so far took over the schools in a number of countries with a view to providing better education for students.
â€œTheir actions in Turkey should be considered as a wake-up call for other countries. Through their educational efforts, they provide scholarships. Later, they specifically target these children whom they have provided with scholarships and indoctrinate them. Then, they encourage them to join the public service. The aim here is to infiltrate the public sector so as to influence the politics in line with their agendaâ€, he said.
The envoy stated that in many regions, FETO schools and other entities had been closely inspected and put under state control.
He also said investigations into FETO structures and FETO operatives were under way in many countries, which had led to a global reduction in crime apparatus of the organisation.
â€œThis is an organisation that has two tiers. The first layer is the legal and visible side. On appearance Fetullah Gulen leads a civil movement called â€œHizmetâ€. On paper, â€œHizmetâ€ is a moderate, tolerant, non-violent and pro-dialogue social movement. The variety of associations in media, education, humanitarian work, banking and business associations etc. were established first in Turkey and later in different parts of the world.
â€œUnder the guise of legitimate social service efforts, Gulen and his followers gained access to vast financial resources, human capital, political and social influence.
â€œSuch vast wealth and influence have not been accumulated through legal conduct of business. It involved money laundering, bribing and operations through shady firms. It also involved destroying rivals through abusing state authority, which they acquired by infiltrating state structures, including the police, judiciary and finance.
â€œThe Turkish Government rightfully takes necessary and proportionate measures to suppress and eventually defeat this imminent threat.â€