Schools belong to Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) in Mali were taken over by Turkey's Maarif Foundation in line with an agreement signed between the Malian National Education Ministry and the foundation.
The ceremony that was held in Mali's capital, Bamako, to mark the takeover was attended by both Malian and Turkish officials. The agreement, which envisages transferring the 18 schools linked with FETÖ, was signed by Malian National Education Minister Ag Erlaf and Maarif Foundation board member Hasan Yavuz. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also sent a letter regarding the takeover to Malian President Boubacar Keita.
"We do not let any structure harm our bilateral relations. We completely come to agreement with the Turkish government on FETÖ. Mali stands by Turkey against all kind of terrorism. And we are aware of Turkey likewise standing by us. I will send a special representative in response to my brother President Erdoğan's letter," Boubacar has said.
Some 3,297 students attend the schools, which have 406 teachers, 33 of whom are Turkish. The new academic year begins in October.
Nineteen African countries have handed over FETÖ schools to Turkey's Maarif Foundation or closed them upon Ankara's request.
The Maarif Foundation was established after the July 2016 coup attempt in order to take over the administration of overseas schools linked to FETÖ, which Ankara accuses of being behind the failed coup that left 248 people dead and nearly 2,200 injured.