The management of the Nigerian-Turkish International Colleges (NTIC) says the government of Turkey is insulting Nigeria by requesting the closure of its schools in the country.
Speaking on Wednesday during a meeting with Shehu Sani, vice-chairman of the senate committee on foreign affairs, Hakan Cakil, the Turkish ambassador to Nigeria, had asked the government to shut down the 17 Turkish schools in the country.
He said that the owners of the schools were members of the Fethullah Gulen movement, which allegedly plotted the botched July 15 coup in Turkey.
He also alleged that the owners of the schools used proceeds from their investment in Nigeria for criminal activities.
But in a statement on Friday, Orhan Kertim, managing director of the schools, described the request of the Turkish government as baseless and unfounded, saying that although the NTIC schools in Nigeria are Turkish in name, they are actually Nigerian in deeds.
“The NTIC is not a Turkish government-run institution, but a privately funded institution by a group of Turkish investors,” he said.
“As a responsible organisation operating in Nigeria since 1998, we are conversant with the laws of the land and we have to the best of our ability abided by these stipulations.
“The call therefore by the Turkish ambassador is not only baseless, but it is also unfounded and of poor taste.
“Nigeria is a sovereign country and call by the Turkish ambassador is not only an affront on the sovereignty of the Nigerian nation, but a display of crass ignorance.
“The NTIC schools in Nigeria are Turkish in name, but Nigerian in deeds. We are partners in progress as evident in all our activities since 1998.”