Saudi Arabia Closes Turkish schools In Makkah and Madinah

Students from the Makkah International Turkish School celebrate Turkey’s Republic Day in 2019. (Screenshot)

Saudi Arabia closed eight Turkish schools in the cities of Makkah Al Mukarramah and Madinah Al Munawarah last year.

A spokesperson for the Turkish Ministry of Education, Ahmet Emre Bilgili, said: “Despite all efforts made, the Saudi authorities closed all Turkish schools in the cities of Makkah and Madinah.”

Bilgili added that other schools in the region had encountered many difficulties.

For his part, a member of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), MP Utku Çakırözer, rejected the Saudi decision.

Çakırözer said that the two countries’ problems should not affect or harm Turkish citizens in the kingdom, stressing that it is an “unfortunate” decision.

He explained that various complaints had been received from Turkish citizens residing in Saudi Arabia over their difficulties in educating their children in Turkish schools.

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An official from the Turkish Ministry of Education said the Saudi decision was “purely political,” stressing that there are no reasons to close Turkish language schools.

He added that Saudi Arabia had ended Turkish educational activities in the kingdom in a way that does not comply with international rules, describing the decision as “arbitrary.”

 

He stressed the need to end the suffering of Turkish children in Saudi Arabia, adding: “It is not acceptable for any country to prevent citizens of other countries from teaching in their schools in their own language.”

Meanwhile, Turkish official Burcu Dalkıran said that tensions over the schools had been slightly eased in recent months.

In Novembar last year, the King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, telephoned the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, paving the way for an easement in relations.

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