Sunday, August 17, 2008

Fethullah Schools: "They taught us how great Turkey is"

29.8.2006 - by Vladimir van Wilgenburg, Journalist, Netherlands

Vladimir: Can you introduce yourself to our readers?

Hiwa: My nickname is Hiwa, I was born in a village in southern Kurdistan, but raised in Halabja and lived there till 1995. Except the three years from 1988-1991, when we were unable to go be in Halabja. I have just finished my degree in computing at the University of Leeds. Currently I live in Leeds in UK.

Vladimir: How did you end up at a Turkish school in Hawler? What did they teach you? Was the education good? In what time was this?

Hiwa: Hawler. Fezalar Egitim, which is a Turkish educational company, opened it's first school in Hawler in 1994. A year later we heard through the Nur Islamic group, which had people in Halabja, that there is a private school. This school accepted students with high marks. We also heard that the first round of assessments are over, but there was a late second round and I was taken to Hawler by my eldest brother. So I entered Erbil Ishik Private College in 1995 and I finished it in 1999.

These schools are probably the best schools in the Middle East, if not better than some European schools as well. They care about every detail of the school from the school buildings to the books. They assess students and pupils and they only accept the best amongst them. The main education language is English, but Turkish, Kurdish and Arabic are languages which are also studied. Great care is given to teaching Turkish, as some of the teachers struggle with teaching in pure English.

Vladimir: With your school, you also made a visit to Turkey, what did you see there? And what happened there?

Hiwa: Well these visits were kind of holiday trips for us, accompanied by either parents or teachers from Hawler. I was not in the first trip, but I was amongst a 12 student group trip to Turkey and went to different towns and cities in Turkey by a rather uncomfortable bus. There is a town near Ankara called Polatli, that's were they used to that there is their base for "our schools in Hawler" . So the first place to go and stay was at one of those school dorms and from there I went around the country.

The first thing we saw were villas of rich people whom they used to call "business brothers". They said that say these are the people, who sponsor our schools and they would like to see what have we achieved. Then some official visits and once there was a rumour that we were to see [Correction] the then Prime Minister Tansu ?iller and we all said "no we would like to go around town" as typical teenagers. But we met the MP of Amed (Diyarbekir) and I think he took some photos as well.

And off course we made a January trip to Turkey, which meant a freezing cold Ankara and snowy roads in northern Kurdistan. So apart from indoor entertainment, that would never include going even close to a cinema. There was no proper fun really!

Vladimir: Where you also confronted with Turkish nationalist ideology in your trip? And did you visit Turkish national monuments like Ataturk's grave? How did you experience these visits?

Hiwa: Almost all visits to Turkey had to include a visit to Ataturk's grave, so called (Anit Kabir) and we paid a visit, too. I must say when I went I rose my hands to the air, I used to pray back then, so from the bottom of my heart I said to Allah "may Allah fill his grave with fire!" in Arabic.

We even were taken to the F-16 factory to see how Turkey makes such fighter jets which are currently used in bombing Qandil mountains in southern Kurdistan leaving from their bases in Amed.

In the 1997 trip when we were attending the chemistry competition, on the day of the awards ceremony, the presenter shouted "The Future will be Turk's" and I was sitting next to my teacher and shouted at him "bullshit!". They used to introduce as to their sponsors or authorities as Turkified Kurds! I fought over this to the end of my education and they made me make a mess out of their so-called graduation ceremony in my final year due to their racial discrimination!

I used to like the visits as a teenager, but I can very well remember experiencing racial discrimination and hear racial remarks which we used to argue over for hours. They used to convince us that they have to do these things for the sake of the schools' future.
What was the general feeling amongst the students in those Turkish schools?
There were different feelings, but the pro-Turkey Turkmen feeling was high and the pure Kirmanj (Hawleri) feelings off course was that the "Turks are invaders and they are here to Turkify". But for me it was to get the best education and then said good bye to the school which was 100% different to my background.

Vladimir: Who is behind these schools? Do PUK/KDP tolerate these schools? Do they still exist? If they do exist, why you think the KRG tolerates them? What does the Turkish intelligence service have to do with it? (MIT)

Hiwa: Fethullah Gulen is said to be behind all these educational institutes, print houses and even hospitals around Turkey and around the world. The support from KDP/PUK has never been greater and they used to have 24-hour electricity while entire Hawler was in the dark. They have the best of Hawler buildings in the best position in Hawler and they used to invite officials as high as then-PM Dr Rozh Nuri and Kosrat Rasul the president of KRG. I don't know why they are tolerated, but I don't think it was a planned and calculated tolerance. They still exist and they now have two schools in Hawler, two in Slemani and they are now opening one in Kirkuk with a language centre in Hawler.

I have no concrete evidence about the MIT involvement, but for our 1997 competition we were taken to the border and a sergeant in the army helped us get through the Turkish custom with no passports. When we came back to Ibrahim Khalil border, we were put in a dark windowed 4X4. The driver only lowered the window to say "Merhaba" to the Turks and "Roj Bash" to the Kurdish peshmarga on each side of the border. I think those two words were two passports for three of us.

Vladimir: Were these schools Islamist?

Hiwa: They don't deny this. They teach Islam and they have hundreds of books in the library in Ishik College and they are proud of it. They all pray and they are not ashamed or afraid of telling anyone about it. I remember studying the Islamic history, just as we used to do in the mainstream schools in the Kurdistani schools. The difference off course, was history were to be taught in Turkish and by a Turkish teacher!

Vladimir: What did these schools do with your view of Turks?

Hiwa: The question needs a story to tell, but I can say that I am grateful because I know them from inside out. I am no longer a Kurd who just happens to be sceptical and cautious about Turks and Turkey. I am a person who knows a bit about their history and knows enough about their language and culture. I cannot be differentiated from a Turk with a bit of accent, if I want too. I know why they are there and it's nothing more than teaching naive pupils in southern Kurdistan how great Turkey, the Ottoman and the Turkish people are, but that the Turkish political system is secular and bad.

Vladimir: According to the Turkish liberal news paper Sabah (2001) people are taught to hate Ataturk in Fethallah Gulen's schools. Is this true? What do you think about Fethallah Gulen?

Hiwa: Well this is quite natural because Ataturk is a little bit loved by the west, because he was the only person who destroyed Islamic culture, rule and political movements in the 20th century. Not only Fethullah and his group, but also all other Islamic movements in the Middle East think Ataturk destroyed the legacy of the largest Islamic empire.

This doesn't mean that the school ideas are pure Islamic ideas; they are there to serve the greater Turkish nation and Said Nursi's (Sheik Said Kurdi) path in a version modified by Fethullah Gulen.


Anonymous said...

Please visit the following links to learn more about Fethullah Gulen and the movement inspired by him.
Fethullah Gulen
Fethullah Gulen Movement

Anonymous said...

Ha ha, you are at it again with the Gulen propaganda! Too bad the Con Artist Gulen doesn't pay you some of his $25 billion for all the lying you have to do.

For the REAL truth about Gulen Schools in the USA visit:

jonathan said...

Check out his website about charter schools.

jonathan said...

Check out this website about charter schools.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha Jonathan or should I say Murad, Hasan, Fatih, Mustafa, et al.
It is NO big secret in America that Gulen owns and manipultates his own media.
You are all just a part of his big scheme.
and we will NEVER leave Charters alone so they can rip off tax payers like Ivy Academia, California Charter Academys, Gateway Charters and the others that rip off MILLIONS OF TAX DOLLARS.
Gulen you won't win your buddies at the CIA are pulling the plug.

Gulen is a Fraud said...

Turkey doesn't care about educating American children. They don't do such a great job in their own country.
Gulen is currently under investigation in Turkey and evidently CHEATING on tests in common place in Turkey with teachers.
No more money for the Gulen Movement in the USA. And No more Visa Fraud.

jonathan said...

Charters work! Charters continue to receive decades of support from all administrations. Public has witnessed bad charters close and good ones thrive in time.

gulen schools said...

Charter schools have adapted wisdoms from Gulen and Islam teachings which is open enough for any religion, as respect is one of the most taught values.

Anonymous said...

Some say they are the best schools around, and some say they can’t be that good without support from global powers. Some say they serve for global peace, and some other say: “Don’t be naive they must have a hidden agenda”. I will not get into questions like “water of the mill” as they have been addressed previously. The main question I am going after is, what are really Gulen Inspired Schools? What makes them standout? How can you distinguish a Gulen Inspired School from any other public or community school?

Gulen is a Fraud said...

The TRUE Cypriots DO NOT HAVE A GULEN SCHOOL. The northern portion of island was invaded by the Turkish Military and forceable moved the Christian indigenous subjects to the south in 1973. They may have a "gulen school" on the northern section of the island.
1973 was the second time the Cypriots were invaded by the Ottomans the first was in 1400s.
To the poster above MOST AMERICANS say Gulen is a fraud. Including all of the teachers working for these fake madrassas.
Gulen schools have a lot of American Government spies in the schools gathering information on them.
True Turkish Patriots dispise this Fool and his band of "scholars" that can barely teach anything besides Turkish Character, Turkish Dance and Singing.
They have failed all the TAKS tests and do not perform well academically, but there are hardly jobs for these kids singing and dancing in Turkish.
parents and teachers know the truth about Gulen and his 3 ring circus, group of clowns and circus acts.

Gulen is a Fraud said...

PS. Good to see William aka Jonathon back at it again.

hey Jonathon did you see the article by Turkish American and ex FBI Turkish translator Sibel Edmonds?

Anonymous said...

Gulen's Concept Schools under scrunity for money issues and hiring too many unqualifed teachers from Turkic countries.

beurette said...

thank you good article

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