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Pakistan’s supreme court orders transfer of Gülen schools to Turkey

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has ordered the recognition of a Gülen-linked foundation as a terrorist group as well as the transfer of its schools to the Turkish government, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Friday.

In its decision the court ruled that since Turkey designates the Pak Turk International Cag Educational Foundation (ICEF) and institutions affiliated with it as “terrorist groups,” Pakistan must also recognize them as such in line with its international obligations.

The decision also stated that many countries have taken over the administration of Gülen schools and deported Gülen-linked individuals.

The case had been launched upon an individual petition by a Pakistani lawyer who demanded the transfer of the schools to the Turkish government’s Maarif foundation because ICEF was among the foundations to which the Turkish government had appointed trustees due to their links to the Gülen movement.

In a written press release on Friday Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed the supreme court’s decision, claiming that it should set a precedent for all countries.

Maarif was established prior to a coup attempt on July 15, 2016 through legislation in the Turkish parliament. After the abortive putsch, it targeted the closure of Gülen-linked educational institutions as part of Turkish foreign policy.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) pursued a crackdown on the Gülen movement following corruption operations in December 2013 in which the inner circle of the government and then-Prime Minister Erdoğan were implicated.

Despite the movement strongly denying involvement in the failed 2016 coup, Erdoğan launched a global and national witch-hunt targeting the movement.

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