The privately run Chingiz Aitmatov Kyrgyz-Turkish Boys High School stands out in its dusty setting in a northern suburb of Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek. Its record of academic achievement, drawing on the philosophy of US-based Islamic educator Fethullah Gülen, easily upstages anything most local public educational establishments can offer.
But in the eyes of the government of Turkey, where Gülen is from, the sprawling building immaculately cast in the bright colors of the red Kyrgyz flag is little short of an incubator of terrorism and plots to subvert the state.
Ankara’s antagonism to Gülen’s international influence has deep roots, and the Turkish government’s attempt to link the educator with the recent failed coup is intensifying that animosity. But Kyrgyzstan, which is host to at least a dozen Gülen-linked schools and one university, is holding its ground — up to a point.
“In Kyrgyzstan, the [Gülen] gang is very powerful,” said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, during a working trip in the Antalya region on July 24.
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