This report tells of the importance of the Fethullah Gulen missonary schools in Central Asia and the "natural resources" in the area. Central Asian countries also speak a Turkic language and are where the Turkish ancestors migrated from in the 1400s.
Saidjon speaks four languages and has won two international education contests. While trips abroad are beyond the dreams of most pupils in Tajikistan, Saidjon's school opens the world to its students.
"I've traveled to many countries to take part in Educational Olympiads," Saidjon says. "I went to Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Vietnam. I mean, we are given an opportunity to see the world, to broaden our knowledge, and to represent Tajikistan in the international arena."
The Haji Kemal boarding school is highly popular with children from Tajikistan's elite and well-to-do families.
Lessons are taught in four languages -- English, Turkish, Russian, and Tajik.
Unlike many ordinary schools in the country, Haji Kemal is equipped with modern teaching facilities. Its thoroughly renovated, two-story compound with a gated courtyard stands out among other buildings in the area.
Tolerance And Dialogue
The first so-called Turkish schools in Central Asia were founded in the mid-1990s. Turkish educational institutions there -- as well as in countries from Russia to North America -- were set up by the Gulen movement led by Turkish Islamic scholar and author Fethullah Gulen. Gulen is a Sunni Muslim who advocates tolerance and dialogue among different religions.
Throughout Central Asia, Turkish schools are known for their strict educational methods and discipline and are highly regarded by students and parents.
The majority of national and regional education contests are won by Turkish lyceum students. Easily passing English-language tests, many graduates win scholarships to Western universities.
Parents go to great lengths to enroll their children in Turkish schools, hoping such education will guarantee bright futures for them.Ulterior Agendas?
Yet, Turkish educational institutions have come under increasing scrutiny in Central Asia. Governments as well as many scholars and journalists suspect that the schools have more than just education on their agendas.
In Turkmenistan, education authorities have ordered Turkish lyceums to scrap the history of religion from curriculums.
However, it is Uzbekistan that has taken the toughest stance toward Turkish schools. In 1999, Tashkent closed all Turkish lyceums after its relationship with Ankara turned sour.
This year, the authoritarian Uzbek government headed by President Islam Karimov took things a step further by arresting at least eight journalists who were graduates of Turkish schools. The journalists were found guilty of setting up an illegal religious group and of involvement in an extremist organization.
According to Uzbekistan's state-run media, the imprisoned men were members of the banned religious group Nurchilar and received prison sentences ranging from 6 1/2 to eight years. They have denied the charges.
The state-run media claims that Nurchilar followers have been active in Uzbekistan since the early 1990s, with the aim of undermining the country's secular system. Islam In Political Life
Uzbek officials have expressed suspicions that Turkish-school graduates in government offices and other key institutions use their positions to weaken the secular government. They charge that graduates of Turkish schools promote an aggressive form of Islam and even a role for Islam in political life.
There is something of an irony in the fact that such charges are being directed at schools inspired by the teachings of Fethullah Gulen. Gulen, though controversial, is generally regarded as a moderate Islamic thinker who condemns extremism and terrorism and promotes tolerance and harmony in society. He has written more than 60 books on subjects ranging from religion, Sufism, social and education issues, to art, science, and sports.
The 68-year-old scholar calls on Muslims to study both religion and modern science, including Darwin's theory of evolution.
He was also once a follower of Said Nursi before he broke ranks with that Turkish scholar's mainstream movement, which many see as the basis of Nurchilar.
Merojov said there are people in Uzbekistan who are followers of Nursi, a Turkish religious thinker who advocated combining scientific and religious education, supported Turkey's participation in Western organization, and tried to unite Muslims and Christians in the fight against communism.
Merojov, whose translation of Nursi's works prevent him from returning to his native Uzbekistan, said that although there are Turkish lyceum graduates among Nursi and Gulen followers, these people are not necessarily related to Turkish schools.
This article tells about the Turkish schools that were CLOSED in Kyrgyzstan