By Nezir Aliyev
BISHKEK (AA) – The head of the Turkish Maarif Foundation on Friday expressed readiness to work with Kyrgyzstan toward a solution for the FETO schools still active in the country.
Birol Akgun, Maarif’s chairperson, told Anadolu Agency in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek that they expected support from the Kyrgyzstan government for the Maarif Foundation to begin its activities in the country.
He said the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the culprit behind the 2016 defeated coup attempt in Turkey, remained a "problem" in Turkey-Kyrgyzstan relations.
"FETO continues to be a problem between Turkey and Kyrgyzstan. There is an effort to create distrust between the two countries. Therefore, this problem must be resolved at once," he said.
Underlining that the Foundation expected the Kyrgyz government to allow it to establish an office in the country, Akgun said: "We want to create a joint cooperation roadmap with Kyrgyzstan."
He emphasized that they did not want Kyrgyzstan to shut down all the educational institutions established under the name of “Turkish schools”, but rather Maarif wanted to take over their administrations.
“All we want to do is provide assurance to the families who send their children to these schools. These students are our students. The families who send their children to these schools are not to blame. They do so only because they trust the Turkish state. We don’t want to fail them," he said.
Turkey established the Maarif Foundation in 2016 to take over the administration of all the overseas schools linked to FETO. It also establishes schools and education centers abroad. So far nearly 30 African countries have handed over FETO schools to Maarif or closed them down.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup attempt of July 15, 2016, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.