Turkey's Maarif foundation is planning to open its first school in South Africa for the next education term, expanding its presence in the continent.
"We signed an education cooperation deal with South Africa's National Education Ministry. We are planning to open a school there in the 2018-2019 term," Birol Akgün, the head of Turkey's Maarif Foundation told Anadolu Agency (AA).
Akgün is accompanying President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on his visit to South Africa to attend the annual summit of BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).
In South Africa, Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) runs 11 schools with a total of 2,800 students. The aim of the foundation is to eventually take over these schools from the terrorist organization, just as it did in 28 other countries.
The Maarif head said that the foundation has a legal entity status to open or take over an education institution in South Africa. Mentioning steps taken for boosting bilateral political ties, Akgün emphasized that the countries also agreed on improving mutual cultural relations.
He noted that South Africa's Muslim minorities show great interest towards Turkey. Akgün also mentioned that the foundation plans on increasing its presence in the continent.
Currently, Turkey's Maarif Foundation, which is responsible for Turkey's education activities abroad in coordination with the Education Ministry and Foreign Affairs Ministry, is working to take over FETÖ-linked schools in African countries.
Since its establishment, the foundation has made official contact with 90 countries, appointed directors to 40 countries so far and currently runs 101 schools. In a total of 12 countries, including Niger, Chad, Somalia and Sudan, 94 FETÖ-controlled schools, with more than 10,000 students, have been transferred to the Maarif Foundation with the help of the governments of those countries.
"We want to be present in every African country that opens its door to us. South Africa is one of them," he said, adding that their priority was to raise a Turkey-friendly generation via formal education.
The inauguration of the first directorship of the Turkish Maarif Foundation in South Africa was held Wednesday with President Erdoğan in attendance.