Georgia shuts down school affiliated with Gülen movement on request of Turkey’s Erdoğan regime

Georgia’s Ministry of Education has revoked the teaching license of the Demirel College, a private school founded in Tbilisi by the businesmen affiliated with the Gülen movement, in a move that came three months after the jailing of its principal at the request of Turkey’s despotic regime under the rule of autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The National Center for Education Quality Enhancement (NCEQE), an agency at the Ministry of Education has decided not to renew the school’s “authorization,” on August 29. While the ministry grounded its decision on some problems with teacher and student registration as well as the school infrastructure and equipment, its timing was found suspicious by many as the school’s principal has been under arrest for some 3 months at Erdoğan regime’s request.

Demirel College’s principal Mustafa Emre Çabuk was detained by Gerogian police on May 24, 2017 after a visit by Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım to Georgia. Çabuk is accused of ‘supporting a terrorist organization’ and proceedings to extradite him to Turkey were initiated, according to local sources. After several rights groups including Amnesty International’s Georgia branch and Transparency International urged authorities not to extradite him, Georgia temporarily halted the extradition process. A local, online news portal said extradition process resumed in July.

Georgia earlier revoked license of another school affiliated with the Gülen movement in Batumi. Georgian officials also detained Turkish businessman Sinan Saraç for what media said supporting the Gülen movement.

A Turkish pro-government media outlet said that Turkey had sent a group of 15 people to Georgia, tasked to spy on alleged followers of the Gülen movement over there, which has “chased Saraç in a movie-like operation” and reported the collected information to the Georgian police which later detained him.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic President 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. Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup. (SCF with

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