Gülen schools face closure in Turkey, US

Published 11.07.2014 16:52
Updated 11.07.2014 20:41
Gülen schools face closure in Turkey, US

The schools of the Gülen Movement are facing closure in Turkey and the United States. Two charter schools affiliated with the Gülen Movement in Los Angeles have been ordered to be shut down while four schools in the Turkish city of Bolu were closed by municipal authorities.

Magnolia Charter Schools 6 and 7 were denied a renewal of their four-year contract with the LA School District Charter School Division following an internal fiscal audit report by the district's Inspector General, which may lead around 450 students to attend a different school in fall. According to LA School Report, district officials refused to comment on how the schools have failed to meet the district's guidelines but it was stated that none of the schools were able to maintain five percent in cash reserves as a rainy day fund recommended by the district. The attorney representing the schools challenged the decision and accused the district of victimizing the school, giving them no time to respond to the violations, but LAUSD stated Magnolia had numerous discussions regarding the necessary steps to implement the review of the schools' fiscal operations.

On the other hand, Bolu municipality has closed four schools affiliated with the Gülen Movement for not having a valid license. These include two elementary schools, a kindergarten and a prep school which have failed to meet settlement standards. Alaaddin Yılmaz, the mayor of Bolu has stated that the closure of these schools is part of the efforts to eliminate unlicensed buildings as a precautionary measure towards earthquakes.
In June, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has raided 19 charter schools affiliated with the Gülen Movement in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois for reasons allegedly related to crimes linked to education tenders. The FBI refused to comment or give details about the investigation and indicated the investigation is being handled by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in cooperation with the Department of Education.

Concept Schools previously faced investigations for hiring more immigrant workers than Google and failing to properly use public funding in 2009, while the Gülen Movement is accused of mostly hiring Turkish teachers and paying them more than their American counterparts.

Another charter school was shut down in 2011 for bribery charges. Fethullah Gülen, who currently lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, leads the Gülen Movement. He is accused of orchestrating the Dec. 17 coup attempt and infiltrating Turkish state institutions through Gülenist agents.

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