Turkey denying visas to Kyrgyz students at Gülen affiliated schools and their families

Kyrgyz nationals who study at the schools affiliated with the Gülen movement as well as their families are being denied visas to Turkey, said Orhan Erdem, Turkey’s Deputy Education Minister.

Speaking to a gathering in Bursa province that was attended by academics from Kyrgyzstan on Friday, Erdem said people that interact with Gülen-linked schools are not welcome in Turkey.

“Please ask your acquaintances, friends and brothers not to go to these terrorists’ schools. Because, it is highly likely that we deny visas to those who study at such schools. We do not even want to see their families in Turkey,” the deputy minister said.

However, Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev has said on late July 2017 that those who see the teachers working at Gülen-linked SAPAT educational institutions in the country as terrorists need treatment and should see a doctor. Speaking at a news conference in Cholpon-Ata, Atambayev referred to  statements of the Turkish ambassador in Kyrgyzstan who accused the teachers of the Gülen-linked schools of being terrorists and said that reasonable people would not call these teachers terrorists.

“Around 90-95 percent of the teachers working in these schools are Kyrgyz. I assume those who love Gülen are the teachers in these schools. But those saying that teachers are terrorists should get a treatment and get it checked whether they are in good mental health,” said Atambayev.

According to Atambayev, the Turkish government is angry with the Kyrgyz administration turning down their request to close down Gülen-linked schools in Kyrgyzstan. Renewing his insistence on keeping the schools open and opening more quality schools like them, Atambayev said:  “You know we turned 35 percent of SAPAT schools into government schools. The name of the institution was also changed. Those schools are our pride, that is what I have said until now and I am saying it again we are not going to close down the schools. On the contrary we are going to open more schools.”

After a controversial coup attempt in Turkey last July, Turkey’s autocratic and corrupt President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan banned the movement’s Turkish schools and increased pressure on its estimated 1,000 schools worldwide as he accused the movement of masterminding the failed putsch.

Erdoğan brokered trade agreements in Africa, Asia and the Caucasus in return for control of Gülen-linked schools. Often the schools were then shut down.

In Pakistan, more than 100 Turkish teachers have been placed under UN protection since November after authorities ordered them to be deported following Turkish demands to close their schools.

Seventeen families of Gülen-linked school staff members in Afghanistan whose passports have expired or been seized have applied for asylum status with the UN’s refugee agency.

In the meantime, Atambayev, who fell ill while travelling to İstanbul, from where he was to fly to New York to attend the UN General Assembly last September, went to Moscow to receive treatment because he was denied a treatment in Turkey upon an order from Erdoğan.

Kyrgyz deputy Omurbek Tekebayev claimed in Kyrgyz Parliament last October that President Erdoğan prevented the provision of medical treatment to Atambayev because he refused to cooperate with him in his witch-hunt against the Gülen movement. (SCF with turkeypurge.com)

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