Gulenist school closing in Amman sparks rumor of coup link

Published July 21st, 2016 - 09:20 GMT
The controversial cleric has been accused of orchestrating Turkey's recent coup (AFP / File)
The controversial cleric has been accused of orchestrating Turkey's recent coup (AFP / File)

The Jordanian government closed a Turkish school owned by Turkish Cleric Fethulluh Gulen this week, sparking suggestions that the government might be responding to the preacher's supposed role in Turkey's recent coup.

Jordanian daily Al Ghad reported that the school's license was closed because it was acting against government rules, quoting the Head of Private Education Administration Amin Shdefat. He denied that the closure was associated with Gulen.

But links with Gulen – the preacher accused of orchestrating the military coup in Turkey which took place over the weekend – sparked speculation, and multiple sources reported that Burj Private School was owned by supporters of the controversial cleric. Long an enemy of Erdogan, Gulen leads the Hizmet movement which advocates a moderate Islamist political ground. He lives in exile in Pennsylvania, and is affiliated with a network of “Gulenist” schools around the world.

Gulen has denied claims that he was involved in the coup.

According to Ammon news, a spokesperson stressed that several other schools were closed in the last week, and added that the infringements that led to the school's closure took place several months ago.

A global network of schools owned by Gulen, however, have been used in the political battle before. In April, it was reported by pro-government Turkish sources that 21 Gulen affiliated schools in Pakistan were potentially to be closed, and in the same month, Gulen schools in Turkey were closed down.

In the wake of the coup, Turkish president Erdogan and his governmental allies have embarked on a shocking purge of state institutions, arresting and firing those they deem associated with the coup. Some 58,000 people are estimated to have been affected. Erdogan has requested the extradition of Gulen from the US – although it is unclear whether the attempt will succeed – and in the past has been successful in securing action against his adversaries from foreign governments, most notably with the arrest of comedian Jan Bohmermann in Germany.

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