The Budapest Metropolitan Government Office has given permission for the opening of an elementary and high school established in Budapest by the lobbying organization of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – liberal news site 24.hu reports.
Answering the portal’s questions, the acting head of the institution said it was a private school of “Turkish origin” that had not yet opened its doors because it was “under construction.” He did not reveal, however, from what financial source the school would be funded, how large the institution’s budget would be, or whether the school would be open exclusively for Turkish students or non-Turkish pupils could also attend. It is also unclear whether Muslim religious education will play a key role in the institution’s curriculum or not.
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The school’s backer is Maarif Hungary Nonprofit Ltd., recently established this summer, and owned by the Turkish Maarif Foundation.
The close relationship between Erdogan and the foundation is clear. In an article, Vocal Europe writes that Erdogan is personally responsible for appointing seven out of the twelve members of the organization’s board of directors. Also, the Ministry of Education provides a significant portion of the foundation’s financing.
The foundation was created after the failed military coup against Erdogan in 2016 in order to obtain the religious schools founded by his former ally Fethullah Gülen, who according to Erdogan, was behind the coup. Gülen has set up schools, colleges, and even universities around the world.
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Erdogan will visit Budapest on November 7th for the Hungarian-Turkish government summit. Several demonstrations have been announced in the capital for that day protesting against Turkey’s offensive in Syria.
On Monday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had a bilateral meeting with the Turkish President in Baku, where the two leaders discussed the expansion of bilateral relations and Erdogan thanked Orbán for his support on the international stage.
In the featured photo: Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Viktor Orbán.Photo by Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI