Activities at the Turkish Light International School, located at Airfield Shortcut, Monrovia, came to an abrupt halt on Wednesday, April 20, when state security rounded up the school’s Turkish staff and their families and deported them the same day.
At 2:30pm on Thursday, April 21, parents of Turkish Light International School were called to an emergency meeting to break the news by a few ranking Liberian staff of the school. The parents were simply told that the school’s Turkish administrators had been deported without any reasonable explanation.
Up to press time, officials of the George Weah administration have remained tight-lipped on the issue, but sources say the abrupt deportation was a result of seemingly ‘diplomatic’ overtures from the incumbent administration of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, aiming to crush his political rivals around the world.
In July 2017, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu made a historic stopover in Liberia, with a two-fold goal — to strengthen diplomatic relations between the two countries and to dismantle what the Turkish ruling party describes as the “terrorist Fethullah Gulen” establishment in Liberia.
“For years, Turkish Foreign policy in Africa was designed and driven by the Gulen movement mainly through their chartered schools and charity organization, Kimse Yok, which exerted enormous power in the Turkish body politic with the acquiescence of the political elites, especially Prime Minister cum President Reccep Tayyip Erdogan,” wrote F. Momolu Dorley in an article published by the Daily Observer following Minister Cavusoglu’s visit.
It appears that the Liberian government at the time, led by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, did not approve of the Turkish Foreign Minister’s quest on Liberian soil. Now, according to unofficial sources in the Weah administration, the Turkish Nationals were unceremoniously deported, citing “security reasons”.
It is understood that the deportees were not evicted to Turkey, but are in Ghana, where there is also a Turkish school.
Light International School System (Liberia) was established in October 2006 to provide an excellent and quality day and boarding education to children of Liberian and Foreign nationals within and outside Liberia. Accredited by the Ministry of Education (MOE), the school is basically science-oriented with state of the art teaching and learning facilities. It is co-educational with Day and Boarding Facilities. Many prominent individuals, including officials of the Liberian government, have educated their children at the school, which boasts of a student body of more than 300 from different countries.