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Reuters/Umit Bektas
The Gulen movement is accused of being behind the failed Turkish coup.
NATIONAL SECURITY

Turkey wants Nigeria to close down 17 schools with links to the Gulen movement

By Yomi Kazeem

The after-shock of the failed Turkish coup continues to reverberate in Nigeria. After one of the country’s leading banks was named by a Turkish paper as being involved in the disbursement of $2 billion which allegedly funded the coup, the Turkish government has requested the closure of 17 schools in Nigeria. Turkey says the schools have links to the Gulen movement, run by self-exiled Fetullah Gulen, which has been accused of being behind the failed coup.

Hakan Cakil, Turkish ambassador to Nigeria, made the request claiming that the Gulen movement is raising funds through the schools and using these funds “for illegal activities“. Cakil also says the Turkish government regards the closure of the schools “a matter of national security”.

The clampdown on Gulen movement-backed organizations has also been seen in Somalia, a close Turkish ally.  One of the first countries to condemn the coup, president Hassan Mohamud said it was “unacceptable to reverse the democratic path that the people of Turkey enjoyed in the recent times of their history.” Turkey is set to take over organizations, including hospitals and charities, with links to the Gulen movement in the East African country.

The requests to shut down the schools in Nigeria and take over charities in Somalia are part of unrelenting efforts to stamp out the operations of the Gulen movement. Nowhere has this been more forceful than in Turkey where at least 13,000 people have been detained. An estimated 53,000 people with supposed links to the movement have been either suspended or fired from work. More than 1,000 schools with links to the Gulen movement have also been shut down along with charities and medical institutions. But the post-coup cull has not escaped criticism with suggestions made that it is being used a pretext by Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to silent dissenting voices.