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19.06.2014 14:48 News >> Azerbaijan Shuts Down 'Gulen-Linked' Schools

Azerbaijan Shuts Down 'Gulen-Linked' Schools

Azerbaijan to relocate students and teachers of closed schools, says education ministry.

The students and teachers of schools previously run by a group connected with influential Turkish preacher Fethullah Gulen are to be relocated to other schools, the education ministry announced on Thursday.

Twenty-four high schools and exam preparation centers were closed down by the state-run oil company that took them over from Turkish education company Cag Ogretim, which is allegedly linked to Gulen's Hizmet movement.

A statement on the Azerbaijan Education Ministry's website said: "The ministry has formed a working group to relocate the students and teachers from the closed schools. State schools have the capacity and feasibility to accept all students."

The numbers of teachers and students affected by the closure of the 11 high schools and 13 centers, run by the Azerbaijan International Education Center (UEM), is thought to run into the thousands. Kafkas University, also run by UEM will remain open, Azerbaijan's semi-official private APA news agency reported.

Between February and April, the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) took over the education institutions. They were operated by UEM and on Wednesday SOCAR announced the closure decision, citing high maintenance costs and management difficulties.

The Turkish government accuses the Hizmet (Service) movement of forming a shadow structure within the Turkish state and plotting to topple the government.

In March, Azerbaijani media reported that Elnur Aslanov, a senior official in Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev's government, had been sacked, accusing him of having links to Hizmet.

Newspaper reports also claimed Gulen's network had infiltrated state institutions in Azerbaijan and built links with some politicians.

www.aa.com.tr/en - Ankara



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