Search form

Login - Register | FOLLOW US ON

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Gov’t to weigh Turkey's call to close Zaman schools

A security guard directs traffic outside a Zaman International School earlier this week.
A security guard directs traffic outside a Zaman International School earlier this week. Hong Menea

Gov’t to weigh Turkey's call to close Zaman schools

Cambodia will have to give “serious consideration” to Turkey’s request that it shut down the Zaman International secondary and primary school in Phnom Penh along with Zaman University, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Chum Sounry said yesterday.

During a press conference on Monday, Turkish Ambassador Ilhan Tug said his country was seeking the closure of all schools affiliated with the Gulen Movement, founded by cleric Fehullah Gulen, who has been labelled a terrorist by Turkey since 2013 and accused of being behind the recent attempted coup.

But while Sounry claimed Turkey has yet to issue a formal request for action against the Zaman branches, Tug yesterday said it had been done more than once. “Many times during formal meetings with the Cambodian government we have expressed this desire,” Tug said.

Whether or not Turkey had the political capital to see that desire enacted, however, was questioned by analysts.

“I don’t see any connection whatsoever,” Southeast Asia analyst Carl Thayer said in reference to allegations that Zaman’s “Gulenist” roots equate to a terror connection. “Turkey’s firing wildly”.

Thayer said he believes the schools are more important to Cambodia than complying with Turkey’s wishes, saying “they are providing education and competition”.

Thayer did, however, acknowledge a precedent of shutting down Saudi-funded schools during increased fears of Islamic extremism in 2003, but hoped the government wouldn’t “overreact”.

Policy analyst and political commentator Ou Virak also expressed doubts the schools would be shut down. “I don’t think the Turkish government has a lot of influence,” he said. “[They’re] not a major donor.”

Zaman Company, which runs the schools, yesterday released a statement expressing “confidence of innocence” and saying they had not ruled out possible legal action against the Turkish government for defamation.

1

Comments

Please, login or register to post a comment
heantl@hotmail.com's picture

An opportunity to convert it into Cambodia international school and university. Yet still offer middle east syllabus and oversea syllabus

Latest Video

Turkish Embassy calls for closure of Zaman schools

With an attempted coup against the government of President Recep Erdogan quashed only days ago and more than 7,000 alleged conspirators now under arrest, the Turkish ambassador to Cambodia yesterday pressed the govern

CNRP lawmakers beaten

Two opposition lawmakers, Nhay Chamroeun and Kong Sakphea were beaten unconscious during protests in Phnom Penh, as over a thousand protesters descended upon the National Assembly.

Student authors discuss "The Cambodian Economy"

Student authors discuss "The Cambodian Economy"

Students at Phnom Penh's Liger Learning Center have written and published a new book, "The Cambodian Economy".