Turkish school foundation denies allegations on terror links Print
Saturday, 15 July 2017 15:23

Two foundations involved in the operation of the Turkish Tolerance School in Zamboanga have vehemently denied allegations made by Turkish Ambassador to the Philippines Esra Cankorur of the school’s connections with terror groups.

The denial and the foundation’s reaction to allegations of terror links by the Ambassador were contained in a statement sent by the Integrative Center for Alternative Development Foundation (ICAD) and the Pacific Dialogue Foundation, Inc (PDF) to media entities.

“ICAD and PDF vehemently denies that it is a terrorist organization and that it participated in the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey.  We do not and have never had any links with any group involved in terror attacks,” the statement said.

The Ambassador’s “irresponsible and untruthful” statement, has placed the students and teachers of the school in grave danger, according to the statement.

“Not only would the students and teachers be subject of possible investigation/scrutiny by the government, they would now be targets of real terrorist groups who may believe them to be sympathisers.  Worse, they stand to be ostracized, feared or hated by their community that may be swayed by the false statements of Hon Cankorur.”

The statement also outlined several social contributions given by the foundation to the community such as scholarships and grants, disaster relief and beef-sharing programs in different cities of the Philippines.

“Notably, the Armed Forces of the Philppines has recognized the Filipino-Turkish Tolerance School in Zamboanga for its contribution to peace in Mindanao.  In August 2014, the school was awarded for helping provide 38,000 homeless people in Mindanao with humanitarian assistance,” the statement added.

Maruf Celebi, Turkish Tolerance School Administrator, strongly denied the allegations and descibed such allegations as politically motivated.

Celebi said that they are “unhappy” with the recent statements made by the Turkish Ambassador but said that parents of school children need not worry since they are aware of the objectives of the school in line with academic excellence.

He described the school as an institution focusing on education and academics particularly  on making their students excel in the fields of Science and Math.

The school has existed for the past twenty years in Zamboanga city and has been known to distribute bags of beef during the Eid Al Adha.

Meanwhile, Celebi said that parents were concerned but they have experienced no change in the enrollment of students and have even received 70 new enrollees to their school.