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Tolerance school refutes Turkish Ambassador claim


“We don’t have any direct connection with Fetullah Gulen (FETO) or any terrorist group. Our school is legal.”

This was the statement issued yesterday morning by Maruf Celebi, Director of the Turkish Tolerance International School located in Sitio Pitogo barangay Sinunuc, this city.

Celebi vehemently denied allegations of Turkish Ambassador to the Philippines Esra Cankorur who disclosed on Thursday that Turkish terrorists are already in the Philippines particularly in Mindanao, and are using charity organizations and education institutions as fronts for their terroristic activities.

Celebi said their school, which was founded 20 years ago in Zamboanga City, is non-sectarian, following the academics and curriculum of the Department of Education.

At present, he said, the school has 470 students in the secondary and many of their pupils have won in international Mathematics and Science competitions.

He said they get financial aids from the ICAD Foundation based in Manila and not from any other group such as the Feto.

The accusations made by Cankorur were purely claims, politically motivated and has never been proven. He said.

“If she made that claim, she has to prove it. Our school is only trying to educate the students whether they are Muslims or Christians because we are non-sectarian,” Celebi stressed.

He said their school has close ties with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and they have been assisting in terms of relief goods to the Marawi victims.

He said he hopes that the statements of Cankorur will not affect the perception of the people on their school.

According to Cankorur, the FETO group had portrayed itself as a religious movement, an educational institution and a charity group.

“We consider Fetullah Gulen as a terrorist organization and any person linked or affiliated to this group is like a sleeping cell,” Cankorur said in a television interview last Thursday.

The envoy identified various institutions in the country that are affiliated with FETO including two schools operating in Manila.

"These are the Fountain International School and Turkish Tolerance School in Zamboanga." She said.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Allan Peter Cayetano said he is now coordinating with the police to investigate the claims of the Turkish Ambassador. (Nonong Santiago)

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