Minister: 2,274 Gülen-linked private educational institutions closed since coup attempt

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Turkish Minister of National Education Ismet Yılmaz (Isa Terli / Anadolu Agency)

Turkish Education Minister İsmet Yılmaz has announced that the government has closed 2,274 educational institutions since a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, as part of a witch-hunt targeting the Gülen movement, accused by the government of masterminding the failed coup, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

“A total of 1,065 private schools, 361 private educational institutions and 848 students dormitories have been closed,” said Yılmaz during a speech at Parliament’s Budget Commission.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday admitted that people sympathetic to the Gülen movement have been trapped in Turkey.

“Those who are intelligent left Turkey, those who are not intelligent were trapped here,” said Erdoğan.

Erdoğan and his government launched an all-out war against the Gülen movement following corruption operations in December 2013 in which ministers and the son of then-Prime Minister Erdoğan were accused of having taken bribes from an Iranian businessman to facilitate transactions benefiting Iran.

After Erdoğan cast the case as a coup attempt to overthrow his government orchestrated by his political enemies, several prosecutors were removed from the case, police were reassigned and the corruption investigation was dropped.

Erdoğan publicly called on people not to send their children to Gülen movement schools, not to read or watch their media and not to put their money in Bank Asya. All were legal but were linked to the Gülen movement.

Penal courts of peace, which were established by the Erdoğan government in mid-2014, started to jail people and seize companies, media and schools linked with the Gülen movement from summer 2014 on.

Erdoğan also accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding the failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016.

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.

The government has seized to at least 1,068 companies and 4,888 properties as part of a witch-hunt targeting the Gülen movement.

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