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Turkish schools in Netherlands seeking Ankara subsidies are unsupervised: minister

Dutch Social Affairs Minister Wouter Koolmees has admitted that Turkish weekend schools in the Netherlands, which are seeking subsidies from Ankara, were virtually devoid of any supervision, according to a report by the Dutch De Telegraaf daily.

In an answer to parliamentary questions Koolmees made clear how little he is able to do at the schools because they are not covered by education legislation and thus cannot be inspected.

Members of parliament were already worried that Turkey wanted to grant subsidies to the weekend schools. The government has now learned from Ankara that some 15 schools have requested financial support from the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The Netherlands has expressed concern about the situation but is unable to take any action, Koolmees said; however, he tried to reassure the lawmakers, saying that the Turkish government promised “maximum transparency” in discussions on the issue.

“This is not enough,” People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) deputy Bente Becker said “We should not be dependent on Turkey to know what is going on here.”

She demanded that the Cabinet examine how the schools can be supervised and how foreign funding can be halted. “It cannot be the case that the Turkish government will tell us that nothing is going on when it affects children behind our backs. I want the Cabinet to be much more aggressive on this,” she added.

“I find the answers unsatisfactory,” Christian Democrat Appeal (CDA) deputy Pieter Heerma said. “I want to hear what the minister can do so that more Dutch supervision of the schools can be achieved.”

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