Withdraw your wards from local Turkish schools, Erdogan tells Nigerians, other Africans

President Recep Erdogan
President Recep Erdogan Facts on Turkey

The President of Turkey, Recep Erdogan, has called on parents in Africa to withdraw their children from Turkish-run schools across the continent because the schools are run by those he described as terrorists.

In an exclusive interview with AllAfrica.com prior to a three-country official visit to Sudan, Chad and Tunisia this week, Mr. Erdogan said the schools are run by an organisation that uses education as a façade to hide their real intent.

The schools are linked to United States based Cleric, Fethullah Gulen, a former ally of Mr Erdogan turn arch-rival. Mr. Erdogan accused Mr. Gulen as being the mastermind of the July 2016 attempted coup that left 250 people dead. Mr. Gulen has denied the accusations.

“Without any further ado, I will like to mention something. Whether your nephews, nieces and your children, do not send them to either one of these network schools,” Mr. Erdogan said.

“Education is just a disguise for the terrorists working for these organisations, even religion is a disguise for the Fethullahists. In the Quran, Allah condemned those who are using prayers as disguised as they will never be conscientious to the practice of prayer that is why we would remain alert. We would never be manipulated.  The coup plotters are the Fethullahists.

“They have all been identified and some of them have been sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment. These Fethullahists came to kill me and my family members but Allah protected us and in a matter of minutes we were saved from their bombs, their attacks but two of my security guarded were killed… there are 29 martyrs around the presidential complex which was attacked that night as well.

“We are warning all our brothers in Africa not to be deceived because the Fethullahists have great sums of money out of their actions. In 1999, the Chief terrorist, fled to the United States to live in Pennsylvania. We have demanded his extradition immediately.”

Mr. Erdogan threatened that if the United States refuses to extradite Mr. Gulen to face terrorism charges in Turkey, he would reject any demand made by the United States for Turkey to extradite terrorists to the United States.

“We have amassed 85 boxes filled with evidence proving that he was the major perpetrator of the coup but he has not been extradited yet. But tomorrow if the United States asked for the extradition of a terrorist I will say no to them because this man is the killer of 252 martyrs, 292 veterans; still residing in the United States.”

Mr. Erdogan said the Turkish government has established an education foundation to take control of the schools linked with Mr. Gulen. He said the policy is already working well in the countries he will be visiting.

Many African countries, including Nigeria have, however, turned down Mr. Erdogan’s requests to either take control or close schools linked to Mr Gulen. Soon after the attempted coup, the Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria, Hakan Cakil, called on the Nigerian government to close 17 Turkish schools. His request was however turned down by the government.

In a statement in October, Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, confirmed that the Nigerian government indeed received a request for the schools to be closed and for the extradition of Mr Gulen loyalists.

The minister said while Nigeria would not allow its territory to be used as breeding ground for terrorists, the country considered the dissidents political refugees who are protected by the United Nations.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Ministry wishes to state in clear terms that, no such agreement was entered into.

“Every individual, of whatever nationality, legally residing in Nigeria is guaranteed full protection under Nigerian and international laws,” he said.

The presidency later explained that the ownership structure of many of the Turkish schools in Nigeria has been changed to put Nigerian partners in charge.

Since the failed coup, the Turkish government has arrested tens of thousands of people including teachers and journalists amidst condemnation by international rights groups and countries.


Meanwhile, Mr. Erdogan pledged to cooperate with other African countries to fight terrorism in the continent. He said Turkey has been under constant attack of terrorists in the last 40 years but the government has had enough and is doing everything to fight all terrorist organisations including the so-called Islamic State.

“We have been fighting terrorism for the last 40 years. We have paid a hefty price and we no longer wish to pay any price whatsoever while fighting terrorism. That is why terrorism has become a priority for us. We are fighting terrorism internally. By the way, we are fighting Daesh (another name for ISIS) internally as well.

“Whether cultural or political we are ready to cooperate with all of our friends in Africa and number one priority for us is solidarity with our African brothers.”

He said as the term chair of the Organisation of Islamic States, OIC, Turkey has help to provide relief materials and other social services to African countries.


Mr. Erdogan also frowned at selling of African immigrants into slavery in Libya, describing it as un-Islamic. The Turkish leader called on the several factions of the Libyan government to rise in condemnation of slave trade in the country. He advised them to work towards a lasting peace in the country.

“When it comes to slavery, we would never allow the refugees to be traded off as slaves. I will like to call out to the Libya administration and the Libyan youth, please do not be fooled. Slave markets are prohibited by our religion, do not resort to them, do not fall for them. Please do everything you can to save those that have fallen to the slave market. The biggest wealth of all Muslims is to extend a helping hand to all in need.

“Libya is a very wealthy country. Libya was put in this situation deliberately by the powers of the world. Those proud to be sovereign are keeping the money of the Libyans in their central banks. That money is not in the bank of Libya, it is in the bank of other central powers.”


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  • Solomon Brown

    When will Erdogan speak about the half a million dollars his country paid Flynn to lobby on its behalf, more importantly we’d also like to know why they planned to circumvent established laws of extradition, by ilegally abducting Fethullah from his Philadelphia mansion? We might take you seriously when you provide answers to the questions I have raised, until then all you are doing is trash talking trying to use Nigerians as proxies in his personal vendetta against Fethullah.

  • Adekunle

    It’s a pity that many people will not comment on this but the true fact is that real Muslim are not terrorist and they can never be terrorist. Some power countries are only using fake Muslims to lynch their terror act and paint Muslims as terrorists

    • FineBoy

      At what did Muslims in Nigeria condemn Boko Haram?

      Yes they may be sponsored, but they hide under the Quran. When Boko Haram started, because attacks were against Christian, Churches, Police, the Muslim World kept mute.

      Silence is an encouragement sir

      • Ibrahim Babangida Sani

        Unfortunately, Boko Haram didn’t start with Christians alone… Everyone knows that the main victims of Boko Haram were the Muslims, No doubt about that… And mind you, from the unset, Muslims stood against boko haram sighting that this is an organisation against muslims… So let’s not be economical with the truth.

        • FineBoy

          Don’t rewrite history Sir.

          And even if you fighting with your brother, why attack your neighbor.

          This war is still all around intolerance by some Islamic preachers who remain unrestrained

          • Ibrahim Babangida Sani

            First of all, I don’t want to go into the issue of What mr. Erdogan Said about Fathullah Gulen, coz you won’t really understand the whole issue, coz if am not mistaken ure not a Muslim, so you won’t really understand the whole saga, and also understanding who a real muslim is or who is not..

            I am only countering your comment above. My counter to your first comment was the fact that you are trying to be bias on the issue of who were the initial victims of the non Islamic group Boko Haram… Which is not so, and never so… In the actual fact, Boko haram was only initiated to destroy the livelihood of the people of the northeast nigeria, who are 80% muslims….

            They go to markets and blow it off.. Who are they killing?? Mostly Muslims….

            As far as am concerned, Christians were cought up also just to show that it’s not against muslims… Nothing more than that….

            I have lost more than 18 families to Boko Haram since from the unset for your information, some of them Islamic preachers… So you shouldn’t explain what you don’t know…


    • Ibrahim Babangida Sani

      Fact my Brother… Infact we all know that terrorism was something brought up by the non muslims (Coz I won’t call them fake muslims) to paint Islam and Muslims black… Well, I have no doubt that one day, the truth will be revealed… Falsehood don’t last forever.

      • I sigh

        How many of the Islamic terrorists have you challenged with equal force to save your religion that you said they paint black. All I see you guys do is to celebrate them openly and secretly.

        • Ibrahim Babangida Sani

          First of All, Point of correction!! UnIslamic Terrorist… There is no terrorism in Islam… Islam is always pure… I don’t know what religion the terrorists belong to, and as such I don’t put blame on any religion for terrorism because I respect each and every religion… I don’t really know about you.

          Now, back to your question… Who are they (the terrorists)?? Where can I find them?? Can I see them online as am seeing you now?? If yes, Just point them out and watch how I will challenge the inhumane individual(s) that uses my name to commit atrocities.. In the actual fact, you can’t find them… You only hear about them like fairy tales, and then you’re told that they have done this, they have done that….

          Lastly, You baseless claim that I celebrate them… I never expect such words from sensible individual like you… How on earth can someone celebrate his Killer? His destroyer?

          Maybe you need to go back to your table and think and study again. Thanks

          • I sigh

            Why let the acclaimed Islamic terrorist strive. They read the same book you read and will even kill you in the name of Islam if you are a docile or moderate Muslim. They will always dominate the so call moderates. Why not fight them than fighting me online?

          • I sigh

            Are they Budhist, Christians or Jews? what faith book do they read and derive their inspiration from? It is not of the unIslamic faith I can assure you.

      • Counsellor

        No matter how had you try you can’t exorcise violence from Islam. The call to violence is replete in the Quran and the hadiths.

        • Ibrahim Babangida Sani

          Excuse me, I am not having discussion with senseless people like you… If you’re really interested in the discussion, then I advice you go find some sense of maturity, and then come back to the discussion table. We speak and interact like intellectuals here, not like some sort of barbarians. Thank you.

  • kanen

    This man appears to have run out of his senses. It never occurred to him that by exposing this secret he has exposed his dirty agenda. They were partners in business but as differences in interest separated them, his business partner is now a bad man. The utterances,, actions of this man speak volumes of the type of person he is. And this is the type of leader that the Islamic extremists prefer to follow.