Turkish Ambassador asks for closure of Gulen schools, but will USAid allow it?


Turkish Ambassador to Macedonia Tulin Erkal Kara held a press conference on Friday to commemorate the first anniversary of the failed military coup in Turkey, which was stopped by mass popular protests. Ambassador Kara said that Turkey mourns the victims of the coup but also celebrates democracy and the fact that the people did not allow their country to be taken away from them.

“The people fought for democracy and with heroic solidarity stopped the coup. Threats from the Fethullist terrorist organization are not limited to Turkey alone. They exist wherever their schools and media outlets operate. FETO uses these instruments to train and indoctrinate young people in the public institutions. They remain active in Macedonia too. They do not represent Turkey and merely wait for an opportunity to poison relations between Macedonia and Turkey”, the ambassador said. Turkey has repeatedly asked Macedonia to close down all schools and media outlets associated with the controversial cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Ambassador Kara again expressed her gratitude to Macedonia, for being one of the first countries to condemn the 2016 coup, as it was on-going, and for supporting the legitimate authorities.

“Turkey gives great importance to its relations with Macedonia. We recognize Macedonia under its constitutional name, and have always been and always will be on the side of Macedonia. I sincerely hope that the Macedonian people values these efforts. We have great expectations from our Macedonian friends and we hope that the acts that were already passed will continue to be implemented by the new authorities”, said the ambassador, referring to the decision to close down the Gulenist institutions in Macedonia that was passed by the previous, VMRO-DPMNE led Government, but is yet to be implemented.

“We expect that the new Government will examine our demands that these schools are handed over to the Turkish institutions. It remains to be seen whether they will be closed. We emphasize that these are terrorist organizations and that we need to fight them together. As President Erdogan said, we don’t want to see any other country bloodied by this movement”, the ambassador added.

All Gulen based organizations in Macedonia and the region are funded by USAid, and their numbers have only increased in recent years.