Ambassador of Turkey to Nigeria, Hakan Cakil, has called on the Federal Government to close 17 Turkish schools in Nigeria, over alleged link with a terrorist movement involved in the July 15 failed coup attempt in Turkey.
The ambassador, who made the call when the Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Shehu Sani, paid him a courtesy visit, said the Turkish government had nothing to do with the schools.
According to the ambassador, investigations by the Turkish government had linked the Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organisation (FETO) to the failed coup attempt, which claimed over 300 lives.
He said the Turkish government was dissociating itself from any school bearing the country’s name in Nigeria, adding that while the country had schools in other countries, it had none in Nigeria.
“We are requesting the Nigerian government to close down the schools.
I have requested officially, both orally and in writing, the closure of these schools. Also, I have sent a letter to Mr Geoffrey Onyeama (Foreign Minister) and Mr Abba Kyari (Chief of Staff to the President) about this subject and requested their support for the closure of the schools.
“I will also send letters to the chairmen of Committees on Foreign Affairs in the National Assembly as well as the Senate Majority Leader over the issue and I am going to enclose some documents in English on how the group members are engaged in the army, police and the judiciary.
“In Nigeria, there are 17 schools, which belong to the Gulen Movement, one in Kano, one in Kaduna, one in Abuja, Lagos, etc and they are offering scholarships.
“We are starting some legal procedures to take the name of Turkish out of the name of the schools. They are not the schools of the Turkish government,” he said.
On the relations between Nigeria and Turkey, the ambassador said he was optimistic that the trade between the two countries, which declined due to the drop in oil price, would pick up soon.
The Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Mr. Sani, said Turkey had the legitimate right to be concerned about its security in view of the failed coup attempt.
He, however, urged the Turkish government to operate within the ambits of the law in bringing those responsible for the incidence to book.