Ankara asks Kathmandu to stop all Fethullah Gulen activities
by Christopher Sharma

The Islamic preacher is believed to be the mastermind behind the failed coup in Turkey. The network of his supporters manages at least 300 schools in Turkey and another 1,000 worldwide. In the capital of Nepal there are three, two of which are within walking distance of the Office of the Prime Minister. Turkish nationals who had been employed as volunteers, have been dismissed.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - The government of Turkey has asked Nepal to control activities of Islamic leader and preacher Fethullah Gulen, considered by Ankara the mastermind behind a failed coup two weeks ago. According to the letter handed to Nepal’s highest authority, the supporters of preacher Gulen have created a network spread in many countries including in Nepal. The activities of schools and exchanges related to the preacher are “against Turkey” and should be put under tight control.

Yadav Koirala, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Home Affairs admitted that the letter was forward by the Turkish Embassy. “We are yet to decide what and how we should take actions,” he adds.

According to media reports, few schools and business institutions are run by the Gulen foundation and few Turkish citizens are involved in them illegally. But Nepal's government is perhaps waiting to see the actions taken by other countries including India. The Turkish government claims that the Gulen network has strong basis in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Haidarawad and Pune.

According to Nepal’s national daily, the Kantipur Daily, there are at least three hundred schools inside Turkey and additional one thousand schools across the world  run by the Gulen group.

An investigative study by Nepal’s Ministry of Education revealed schools in at least three places are run by the group in Kathmandu. Two of them are situated a few meters away from Prime Minister’s office and one in Bauddhanath area. In all the schools, Turkish citizens were employed on a tourist visa. They are allowed to work as volunteer without the permission released by authorities of Ankara. But to avoid any dispute, the Nepali government decided to withdraw the permit and have warned the school not to recruit any foreigners as volunteers.