Azerbaijan shuts down 'Gulen-linked' schools

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

BAKU, Azerbaijan - Azerbaijan’s government-run energy company has announced that private schools formerly run by a movement led by influential Turkish Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen have been closed down.

From February to April, the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) took over dozens of private high schools, university exam preparation centers and universities run by a Turkish education company called Cag Ogretim which is allegedly linked with the Gulen movement.

SOCAR announced Wednesday that it decided to close these schools, which had been operated by the company now known as Azerbaijan International Education Center, due to high maintenance costs and difficulties in project management.

Turkish government accuses Gulen-led ‘Hizmet’ (Service) movement of forming a shadow structure within the Turkish state and of plotting to topple the government.

In March, Azeri media reported that Azerbaijan sacked Elnur Aslanov, head of President Ilham Aliyev's Political Analysis and Information Department, accusing him of having links with the movement.

Newspapers had said Gulen’s network had also infiltrated state institutions in Azerbaijan and found cohorts among some politicians.

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