Turkish ambassador in Bucharest denies having asked closure of Lumina schools. What does the other side say?

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Turkish Ambassador to Romania Osman Koray Ertas on Thursday met the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s (ME) state secretary for European affairs Cristian Badescu to inform the Romanian side on the latest evolutions in Turkey.

Upon a request of the Romanian side, Turkey’s ambassador reconfirmed the special attention paid by Turkish authorities to foreign tourists, including Romanians, currently visiting Turkey, mainly in tourist areas, reads a MAE press release.

The Romanian state secretary also requested details on some recent public statements on ‘Lumina’ schools, with the Turkish envoy stating he has never formally requested their closure.

The Turkish ambassador in Bucharest on Saturday said that the group behind the coup d’etat in Turkey has 11 schools in Romania, also reminding that Turkey has taken actions to have Fethullah Gulen extradited from the USA, as he would have been involved in an attempt to assassinate the Turkish president.

“Behind the coup there are members of the Gulen group, the cleric living in the US. This imam has two faces: he has a network of schools, has 11 schools in Romania, humanitarian organizations (…) when he delivers messages of tolerance and friendship in the foreign media. His dark side is that when he speaks Turkish he is always urging his followers to be clandestine, to hide, to wait for the right moment to take over the leadership of institutions,” the Turkish diplomat told Realitatea TV.

In this context, the general consul of the Turkey’s Consulate in Constanta, Ali Bozçalışkan, told local media that the Turkish authorities had requested the schools to be closed down.

The Romanian Education Ministry also denied that they had received any request from a national or international authority to suspend or to close down any school or high school in the Lumina Group or for the Lumina Southeastern Europe University.

On the other side, the representatives of one of Lumina schools, allegedly financed by Erdogan’s foe, Fethullah Gulen, claim that the statements of the Turkish officials in Bucharest prove that the Turkish ambassador is afraid he will be punished.

“There was a coup d’etat in Turkey that we are all condemning. We don’t agree any anti-democratic intervention against the elected Government. But, the biggest coup d’etat followed the coup attempt. So many people sacked, arrests, 30,000 teachers removed, schools that have been closed down, academics relieved of their positions, journalists in prison. Of course, the ambassador is afraid that Erdogan might also punish him if he doesn’t obey his orders, I don’t think the ambassador has something against us”, Mustafa Oz, the manager of the International Informatics High School of Bucharest told Mediafax.

The manager said they don’t have any problem with Turkey or the embassy in Bucharest, but they have a problem with the democracy in Turkey, with the freedom of speech, with the media’s freedom and human rights. “We keep supporting these universal values. The ambassador makes false, unfounded and insincere statements,” Mustafa Oz also said.

As for the controversies on the school financing, the manager admitted that the high school has been set up by Turkish businessmen who “were inspired by Mr. Gulen.” Anyone who promotes these values is an example for us. Mr. Gulen, for instance, has never come to Romania, Oz added.

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