Many African countries are faced with a significant national security threat posed by the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), as it runs more than a hundred clandestine schools across the continent trying to impose its influence on the states.
FETÖ, run by fugitive terrorist leader Fetullah Gülen, who resides in the U.S., is believed to have more than a hundred schools in nearly 35 countries in Africa. Even though the terrorist group presents itself as a religious group that is only involved in charity work and humanitarian activities, it uses the schools as a tool to train people to infiltrate state institutions. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who spoke at the Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum in Istanbul on Wednesday, warned African countries about the FETÖ threat. Erdoğan asked African leaders and officials to support Turkey in its fight against FETÖ, which operates dozens of schools in the continent.
Erdoğan said the Maarif Foundation of the Ministry of Education started taking over Gülenist schools in various countries throughout the world and asked African education officials to cooperate with their Turkish counterparts on this issue. The schools are also an important source of income for the shadowy group in addition to being a useful tool for money laundering. Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım called on the countries to further lend support to Turkey in its fight against the terrorist group. "We expect you to continue your support toward ending the group's presence in the continent. I assure you that this global terrorist group is a threat to everyone," Yıldırım asserted.
Somali took action following the July 15 coup attempt regarding FETÖ schools in the country. In a statement, the Somali government said the Nile Academy, a terrorist FETÖ-linked school in Somali capital Mogadishu, was suspended as requested by Ankara. Guinea also declared its support for Turkey in its struggle against FETÖ as the government of Guinea transferred the administration of five schools run by the terrorist group to the Turkish Maarif Foundation. South Africa is a surprise haven for FETÖ members as well. South Africa, which does not have an extradition treaty with Turkey, completes the top five destinations for fleeing FETÖ members.
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