Turkey's Maarif Foundation, founded to replace Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) linked schools abroad in the wake of the failed 2016 coup, has opened its first-ever school in an EU country. An opening ceremony at the IMS of Bucharest School in the Romanian capital on Monday marked the start of the first year for the school. Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA) at the ceremony, Maarif Foundation Chairman Birol Akgün said it was the first time Maarif has opened a school in an EU country. "By opening this school, in a sense, we're trying to prevent people's children here from enrolling in FETÖ schools," Akgün stressed.
The foundation also opened another IMS High School in Elbasan, central Albania on Monday with the participation of Turkish and Albanian officials. FETÖ has a considerable presence abroad, particularly in the U.S., where it runs a chain of charter schools that serve as a revenue stream for the terrorist group.
While the Maarif Foundation has representatives in 55 countries, it has also made official contact with 99 countries for educational activities. It educates more than 30,000 students at 272 schools in 33 countries. The foundation has also signed protocols with 43 countries and is soon planning to start educational activities. It also runs 36 dormitories in different countries. Alongside opening new schools worldwide, the Maarif Foundation has been taking control of FETÖ-linked educational institutions after the group orchestrated a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, killing 251 people and injuring nearly 2,200 others.
These FETÖ schools are usually gathered under umbrella organizations and managed through foundations. As an example, 46 schools are named "Harmony" in Texas, 30 schools are named "Concept" in and around Ohio, and some others are called "Magnolia." Besides offering education, the Maarif Foundation also provides assistance to many high school students who are looking for higher education in Turkey. To that end, the foundation has already signed protocols with 42 Turkish universities. These protocols focus on many areas including teacher training and Turkish language courses for foreign students.
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