Afghan security forces raid Afghan-Turk Boys High School in Shibirghan

The Afghan-Turk Boys High School in Shibirghan was raided by members of the Afghan security forces under the command of Uzbek leader Abdul Rashid Dostum, controversial first vice president of Afghanistan, early Saturday morning and detained Turkish teachers, dozens of students and their parents in order to seize the school at the request of the Turkish government led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The school has reportedly been surrounded by the militias of the Dostum who do not allow anyone to enter or leave the School premises. According to the school administration, no legal justification has been provided so far.

A reliable source reported that the Governor of Jowzjan province together with the Police Chief will join the raid on both Afghan-Turk Boys High School and Afghan-Turk Girls High School in Shibirghan city at 6:00am local time on Saturday.

It was said that the Governor of Jowzjan was in Kabul over the past three days to coordinate the raid with the Office of First Vice President Rashid Dostum and the Turkish embassy. It was also reported that the raids have been approved and supported by the Office of First Vice President, who recently returned from Turkey.

The Turkish government has increasingly put pressure on the government of Afghanistan to either shut down or transfer ownership of the Afghan-Turk Schools to the Maarif Foundation which is affiliated to and supported by the Turkish government.

Turkish officials and the Turkish Embassy in Kabul have continuously targeted the schools and its staff over the past few years. The unlawful and politically motivated measures taken within recent months against the Afghan-Turk Schools have been perpetuated by the Turkish government.

The Afghan-Turk Boys High School and Afghan-Turk Girls High School in Shibirghan city have been operated Turkish and local businessmen affiliated with the Gülen movement.

It was claimed that Turkish President Erdoğan made a secret deal with Uzbek leader Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum who returned from Turkey to Afghanistan last week. The raid on school today is taking place in Uzbek-domninated Jowzjan province.

In April 2018, Turkish embassy also involved in another provocative raid on a school affiliated with the Gülen movement in Mazar-e Sharif, the Northern city of Afghanistan, but failed when locals mobilised to protect the school and its staff. Parents collected 1 million petitions against transfer to Islamist Erdoğan’s Maarif Foundation.

Gulen movement affiliated schools in Afghanistan operated under Afghan-Turk ÇAĞ Educational NGO, have won 875 awards in international science Olympiads from 2003 through 2016 — 278 gold, 287 silver and 310 bronze medals.

Taliban shut down these school in 2001 but they were re-opened in post-Taliban era and often received praises in contributing to rebuilding the future of Afghanistan. Some 10,000 kids including 2,000 girls enrolled in the schools.

According to a recent report released by the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF), the government of President Erdoğan has jailed some 20,000 instructors and arbitrarily fired 34,185 public school teachers and 5,719 academics including professors from state universities within the last two years alone. They were branded as “terrorists” and “coup plotters” without any effective administrative or judicial probe and as such marked for life.

The government also shut down 1,069 privately run schools, most of which were the nation’s best performing science schools and were affiliated with the Gülen movement, and closed down 15 universities that were run by privately held foundations.

As a result, 2,465 academics and 54,350 teachers instantly became unemployed. With the support staff who worked in these schools, the total number of people who lost their jobs reached 65,214. The government also cancelled the licenses of 22,474 teachers, making it impossible for them to continue working as teachers in other institutions.

In total, 96,719 teachers and academics were purged from Turkey’s public and private educational institutions. This number does not include the support staff that was hired to run schools and universities in administrative and other capacities.

Most of the shuttered institutions were transformed into religious schools that are designed to raise a new generation of Islamist supporters for Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP).

When all the closed institutions are taken into account, the total loss in value including fixed property and land is around $100 billion, one source estimates. The crackdown included foreign students who came to Turkey for study or Turkish students who were sent abroad on government scholarships.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. On December 13, 2017 the Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced on April 18, 2018 that the Turkish government had jailed 77,081 people between July 15, 2016 and April 11, 2018 over alleged links to the Gülen movement.

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