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Sudan shut down Gulen-linked schools in support to Turkish gov’t: Ghandour

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) shakes hand with the visiting Sudan's FM Ibrahim Ghandour on 26 October 2016 (ST Photo)
October 26, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s Foreign Minister, Ibrahim Ghandour on Wednesday said that Khartoum has closed the schools linked to the Turkish opponent Fethullah Gulen in support to the Turkish government.

Turkish government accuses the U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen of being behind the July 15 coup attempt in which at least 246 people were killed. But, the exiled Islamic opponent denies any involvement in the aborted putsch.

Speaking at a joint press conference with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara, the visiting Sudanese top diplomat stressed that the security of Turkey is a red line for the Sudan.

“The closure of schools inked to the Turkish opponent Fethullah Gulen was done in support to the Turkish government and people after the July 15 coup attempt,” said Ghandour.

The minister pointed that the Sudanese Ministry of Education is now supervising the two schools and would decide on how to manage them. He noted that a delegation from the Turkish Ministry of Education will visit Khartoum to discuss the matter.

On 4 August, Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir has issued a decision to close all the businesses in the country linked to the Turkish opponent Fethullah Gulen who is accused of orchestrating a failed coup in July.

The decision was announced in a less than a week after a call by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the Sudanese authorities during his address by telephone to a rally organized in Khartoum in support of his government on Sunday 7 August.

At the time, Sudanese Ministry Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Garib Allah Khidir, pointed that the Turkish government had urged to close Gulen-linked schools. He said that his government decided to turn the two schools where over 800 students study into private schools managed by a Sudanese company.

The Sudanese Minister of Foreign Affairs further announced the expulsion of Gulen-inked persons.

Ghandour expressed his satisfaction with the level of the bilateral relations between Ankara and Khartoum, saying that the two countries could further develop their relations in various sectors.

Ghandour went to say that his country hopes to benefit from the Turkish economic success and experience.

“There are several Turkish investors in Sudan but we look for more,” stressed Ghandour, adding that Sudan and Turkey have formed a joint political advisory committee.

He pointed that the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu will visit Khartoum at the beginning of next year, saying that Turkey has supported Sudan in various international forums.

Last Monday, the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Ghandour will hand a letter from President al-Bashir to the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and will also meet the Turkish Prime Minister Binali Y?ld?r?m.

Following a meeting with the President Erdogan, Sudanese foreign ministry Wednesday said that Erdogan received Ghandour who handed him a letter from al-Bashir.

It further said that the Turkish president accepted an invitation extended by al-Bashir to visit Sudan during the first quarter of the next year but no specific date was agreed.

Sudan and Turkey have strong trade and economic ties. Turkish companies invest over $300 millions. In 2015, the volume of trade between the two countries reached $ 450 million USD Dollars in 2015 (export to Sudan: $424,6 million; import from Sudan: $24,6 million), according the Turkish foreign ministry.

(ST)