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Turkish Government Foundation Opening US School

May 3rd, 2021 12:02

A Turk­ish gov­ern­men­tal edu­ca­tion foun­da­tion is report­ing that it is pro­mot­ing a new school in New Jer­sey. Accord­ing to the Maarif Foun­da­tion release:

April 18, 2021 Turk­ish Maarif Foun­da­tion (TMF) orga­nized a pro­mo­tion and enter­tain­ment day for fam­i­lies at the new­ly pur­chased build­ing of Maarif Schools in New Jer­sey, USA. Fam­i­lies from the Turk­ish and Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ties liv­ing around New York and New Jer­sey par­tic­i­pat­ed in the pro­gram, held in the gar­den of the school in Wayne, New Jer­sey. Dur­ing the pro­gram, var­i­ous activ­i­ties were car­ried out for chil­dren, while fam­i­lies were giv­en a tour of the new build­ing and got informed on the works. TMF USA Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mehmet Özkan stat­ed that they had been study­ing online for a long time due to the new type of Coro­n­avirus (COVID-19) out­break, and this event was a good oppor­tu­ni­ty for fam­i­lies and chil­dren to come together.

Read the rest here.

The Turk­ish gov­ern­ment found­ed the Maarif Foun­da­tion (Türkiye Maarif Vak­fı) osten­si­bly to pro­vide edu­ca­tion, dor­mi­to­ries, and schol­ar­ships abroad, from pre-school to high­er edu­ca­tion, and raise a “Turkey-friend­ly youth.” It was also intend­ed to take over schools run by sup­port­ers of Fethul­lah Gülen, which Turkey blames for its 2016 coup. Zafer Sırakaya, Istan­bul AKP MP and AKP Deputy Chair­man of For­eign Rela­tions, has iden­ti­fied the Maarif Foun­da­tion as an ele­ment of Turkey’s soft pow­er and a means to reduce assim­i­la­tion among the Turk­ish dias­po­ra. The Maarif Foun­da­tion oper­ates in over 100 coun­tries glob­al­ly. Its board mem­bers include many AKP offi­cials, as well as:

  • Selim Cer­rah, a co-founder and vice pres­i­dent of Cihan­nü­ma, an asso­ci­a­tion that has host­ed Hamas lead­ers, includ­ing Khaled Meshaal.

Addi­tion­al­ly, Maarif Foun­da­tion USA Exec­u­tive Direc­tor Dr. Mehmet Özkan has held posi­tions at sev­er­al Turk­ish gov­ern­ment-con­nect­ed institutions:

  • Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor at the Turk­ish Nation­al Police Academy
  • Region­al Direc­tor at Turk­ish Coop­er­a­tion and Coor­di­na­tion Agency (TIKA)

GIOR has pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed that the Maarif Foundation’s bud­get was tripled for 2021.