World, Africa

Burundi transferring FETO schools to Turkish foundation

East African nation's envoy says Maarif Foundation will soon open an office in Burundi, as it takes over FETO schools

12.09.2017 - Update : 13.09.2017
Burundi transferring FETO schools to Turkish foundation


Burundi's ambassador to Turkey said that a foundation shepherding schools previously run by a terrorist group into its hands will soon open an office in the East African nation.

"In near future the Maarif Foundation will open its representation in Burundi. We will have a good opportunity to know the exact number of schools," Joel Nkurabagaya, Burundi's ambassador to Turkey, told Anadolu Agency, referring to schools previously run by the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO).

In an exclusive interview, Nkurabagaya said they are continuing their work on transferring former FETO schools to the foundation and that in May a special Turkish presidential envoy visited Burundi’s president to discuss the issue.

Burundi had previously cancelled the licenses of all FETO institutions in Burundi and decided to transfer them to the Maarif Foundation.

The foundation was established after the July 2016 coup attempt in Turkey to take over the administration of overseas schools linked to FETO. It also establishes schools and education centers abroad.

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.

Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, including the military, police judiciary, and schools. ​

FETO also has a considerable presence outside Turkey, including private educational institutions that serve as a revenue stream for the terrorist group.

The UN and Burundi

Nkurabagaya said that since 2015 Burundi has seen violence, including riotous demonstrations, as well as its own coup attempt.

"[The UN] Human Rights Council tried to release several reports on Burundi, and these reports are fake. Because they are based on false information collected basically from those criminals who were involved in this violence and the coup attempt," he said.

Nkurabagaya said the latest report, which proposed that the International Criminal Court investigate Burundi, was "not fair".

"The government of Burundi strongly rejects this report," he said.

All such reports by the Human Rights Council on Burundi contain unfair accusations, he added.

Nkurabagaya claimed that peace and security have been fully restored in the entire country.

The UN Commission of Inquiry on Burundi said in a Sept. 4 report that crimes against humanity have been committed in the country.

Unrest in Burundi started in April 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his candidacy for a controversial third term. The constitution normally allows two, but Nkurunziza’s party claimed a loophole allowed him a third.

Ensuing unrest led to the death of hundreds of people and forced more than 416,000 people to flee the country and seek refuge in neighboring states, according to the UN.

Reporting by Nazli Yuzbasioglu and Adam Abu Bashal; Writing by Fatih Hafız Mehmet

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