So­ma­lia has be­come a show­case on how for­eign part­ners can co­op­er­ate with Tur­key to fight FETÖ while al­low­ing Maarif Foun­da­tion to take over the man­age­ment of Turk­ish schools to pre­vent fur­ther re­cruit­ment by the ter­ror­ist group

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page - YUNUS PAKSOY – MO­GADISHU, SO­MA­LIA

Tur­key’s Maarif Foun­da­tion has taken over the man­age­ment of a school that used to be uti­lized as a re­cruit­ment cen­ter by the Gülenist Ter­ror Group (FETÖ). The school in Mo­gadishu of­fers sev­eral hun­dred So­mali stu­dents classes in four lan­guages, Ara­bic, So­mali, English and Turk­ish, and a world class ed­u­ca­tion. The school and Tur­key’s co­op­er­a­tion with So­ma­lia set the stan­dard for com­bat­ing the ter­ror­ist group.

THE bloody coup at­tempt on July 15, 2016 by the Gülenist Ter­ror Group (FETÖ) killed more than 250 peo­ple and in­jured over 2,000. Less than a day af­ter the fe­ro­cious at­tempt to over­throw the demo­crat­i­cally elected gov­ern­ment in Tur­key, the So­mali ad­min­is­tra­tion said: Enough is enough. The door was shown to Gülenists as their schools were shut down, ef­fec­tive im­me­di­ately.

As the So­mali gov­ern­ment made a brave de­ci­sion to get rid of all the ter­ror­ist group-linked mem­bers in the coun­try, Tur­key’s Maarif Foun­da­tion (TMV) has taken charge. To­day, hun­dreds of So­mali chil­dren and teenagers are in pur­suit of a chance at world uni­ver­si­ties thanks to the ed­u­ca­tion of­fered at TMV schools.

TMV au­thor­i­ties in Mo­gadishu, So­ma­lia be­lieve that the broth­erly ties, Turk­ish in­vest­ments and hu­man­i­tar­ian projects in the coun­try since 2011 trig­gered the very swift re­sponse to the FETÖ is­sue.

The Turk­ish foun­da­tion pro­vides ed­u­ca­tion to around 600 stu­dents in two sep­a­rate build­ings. The classes are neat, high­tech­nol­ogy ma­te­ri­als are at the dis­posal of chil­dren and teach­ers from Tur­key place the ut­most sig­nif­i­cance on the qual­ity of the job they are per­form­ing.

So­mali chil­dren are taught four lan­guages in the schools, namely Ara­bic, So­mali, English and Turk­ish. The ad­min­is­tra­tion said the stu­dents can speak all four at a very ad­vanced stage at the end of the school. Fur­ther­more, the So­mali stu­dents re­ceive the same cour­ses as their peers around the world with­out any hin­drance or de­fi­ciency.

Ac­cord­ing to the TMV au­thor­i­ties, the main goal here is to pre­pare them for in­ter­na­tional uni­ver­si­ties. Tur­key, in­deed, is among the top des­ti­na­tions for So­mali stu­dents for a dream-like univer­sity life. In fact, scores of So­ma­lis move to Tur­key to re­ceive univer­sity or mas­ter’s de­gree ed­u­ca­tion. Schol­ar­ship op­por­tu­ni­ties by the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment is also a chance to make a com­fort­able liv­ing in the coun­try.

The Turk­ish foun­da­tion as­serts that the idea is to sow the seeds of loy­alty in the minds of So­mali stu­dents to their home­land and help the coun­try move for­ward with qual­i­fied fel­low cit­i­zens. “The de­vel­op­ment of So­ma­lia re­quires such things,” the au­thor­i­ties said.

Apart from the usual ed­u­ca­tion at TMV schools in So­ma­lia, the foun­da­tion is gear­ing up for vo­ca­tional schools. Such schools will train stu­dents for spe­cific ar­eas of work.

While the Turk­ish foun­da­tion con­tin­ues to de­liver sus­tain­able and high qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion to So­mali stu­dents, the FETÖ-era in the coun­try was dif­fer­ent. The TMV au­thor­i­ties said that FETÖ picked out tar­gets among the stu­dents to shape the do­mes­tic pol­i­tics in the coun­try.

As one of the most well-known strate­gies of the ter­ror­ist group, FETÖ pro­vides ed­u­ca­tion to the chil­dren of the elite and po­lit­i­cal class to med­dle in in­ter­nal af­fairs of that re­spec­tive coun­try. While do­ing that, FETÖ used to por­tray its ed­u­ca­tional ac­tiv­i­ties abroad in Tur­key as reach­ing out to the poor and pro­vid­ing them ed­u­ca­tion.

The TMV au­thor­i­ties said that So­mali par­ents used to pay high amounts of money to the FETÖ-linked schools. Be­ing able to af­ford the school tu­ition for a So­mali par­ent, though, was ex­tremely tough back in the FETÖ-era.

The foun­da­tion con­tends that FETÖ used to per­ceive the So­mali fam­i­lies as their sole clients. With the han­dover of schools to TMV, on the other hand, the pic­ture has changed from gloomy to rosy. The au­thor­i­ties stress that the trust in the schools peaked as par­ents re­port­edly feel that no harm would come to them from schools that have the back­ing of the Repub­lic of Tur­key be­hind them.

The TMV was founded in 2016. Ac­cord­ing to the web­site of the foun­da­tion, “to­gether with the Min­istry of Na­tional Ed­u­ca­tion, TMV, which was es­tab­lished by the en­acted law on June 17th 2016 by the Turk­ish Par­lia­ment, is the sole en­tity au­tho­rized to pro­vide ed­u­ca­tional ser­vices abroad. As a non-profit pub­lic ed­u­ca­tional foun­da­tion, TMV is en­ti­tled to run in­sti­tu­tions from pre-school to higher ed­u­ca­tion.”

Hun­dreds of So­mali stu­dents are now ed­u­cated at Turk­ish schools man­aged by the Maarif Foun­da­tion.

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