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MFA concerned over Batumi Lyceum matter

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, July 19
Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) claims the Turkish Consul General Yasin Temiskani was ‘misinterpreted’ by the local media when he was reported as saying that children at the Batumi Shahin Lyceum are brought up with an extremist ideology.

Temiskani has been reported by local Adjara TV in Georgia’s western coastal region that children at Batumi R. Shahin Friendship Lyceum are brought up with an extremist ideology and the school is influenced by Fethullah Gulen, the political opponent of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who stands accused of involvement in the coup attempt which occurred in Turkey on July 15 2016.

In his interview, Temiskani called on the parents to keep their children away from the Shahin School.

“I call on the Adjaran population not to take their children to this school because it serves the purpose of terrorist groups,” the local media reported.

Yesterday, Georgia’s MFA issued a statement on the issue, saying officials in Tbilisi had been provided detailed information over the matter.

The statement was issued after Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Gigi Gigiadze held a meeting with Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Turkey to Georgia, Zeki Levent Gumrukcu, regarding the interview.

The MFA wrote that the Turkish Ambassador had assured Gigiadze that the interview of the Turkish Consul was “misunderstood and his statements were misinterpreted by the media”.

The statement added that Georgian officials had been provided with detailed information on all questions posed during the meeting.

“The sides emphasized that the two countries enjoy excellent cooperation in all areas, in particular on security matters, and this cooperation will further continue on all important issues in relevant formats,” the statement of the MFA reads.

Later, international schools in Georgia also responded to the statement of Turkish Consul General. They issued a statement in which they condemn any statements and accusations that harm the image and reputation of educational institutions.

“It is unacceptable for us that students, teachers and the management of any school were mentioned in a political context, and especially in the context of terrorism,” the statement reads.

Head of Parliamentary Defense and Security Committee Irakli Sesiashvili also responded to the controversy.

He stressed that “all academic institutions in Georgia are subject to Georgian legislation and the Ministry of Education controls them.”