The former Chetnik base, which witnessed many war crimes during the war, has been used as a school since 1997.
Serbian torture base now houses Turkish School
the article is from Gulen's Today Zaman, take it with a grain of salt.
A building in Sarajevo's Vraca neighborhood that was once a command base at which Serbian fascists used to torture Bosnian prisoners is now serving as a Turkish school where Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian students are receiving an education under the same roof.
The building was turned into a school, currently attended by hundreds of students, by the Bosna Sema Educational Institutions in 1997. Though the fact that the building was once a Serbian military facility had a psychological impact on students, the school has shown the entire world that members of three different nations can stay and live together. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) wants the school to be an example for all of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian students are currently instructed in separate classrooms by teachers of their own ethnicity, though they attend the same school.
A building that was once used by the Chetniks, Serbian fascist military units, as a command base where hundreds of Bosnians were brutally tortured is now serving as a Turkish school, recent reports have shown.
The building, in Sarajevo’s Vraca neighborhood, was one of the most infamous centers where Bosnian prisoners of war were held and tortured during the war between 1991 and 1995.
Turkish volunteers who traveled to the region shortly after the war have opened seven elementary schools and two universities. The former Chetnik base hosts the first school that was opened by Turkish education volunteers. The building, which witnessed many war crimes during the war, has been used as a school since 1997.
İsmail Yapıcı, the coordinator of Bosna Sema Educational Institutions, said currently about 2,000 students were attending the Turkish schools and universities. Reminiscing about the first attempts of Turkish volunteers to open schools, Yapıcı said: “Seven Turkish volunteers arrived in Bosnia to open schools at that time; however, officials did not take their intention seriously. Undeterred, the volunteers both started preparations to open schools in Bosnia and took some Bosnian students to receive an education at schools in Turkey.”
Yapıcı also said Bosnian authorities had signed a 20-year lease for the building -- in which prisoners of war were held during the bloody conflict -- with the Journalists and Writers Foundation’s (GYV) Bosnian branch after the Dayton Peace Accords were signed in 1995. The renovation of the building was completed thanks to funds raised in a football match between the Turkish national football team and a team of world famous footballers in 1995.
“The building being a Serbian military base where people were made to suffer and the bitter aspects of the war remains a bitter memory. But now, it is a place where the ‘flowers of education’ are blooming, singing songs of fraternity,” Yapıcı noted.
According to Yapıcı, the Bosna Sema Educational Institutions trains Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian students. “The students stay in the dormitory of the school and grow up like brothers. The mission of this school is to show the entire world that members of three different nations can stay and live together.”
Ceylani Akay, the principal of the school, said he was frightened to see the Vracha neighborhood when he first arrived there in 1997.
“Students who suffered much and spent days in shelters during the war were happy to be educated in a new building. The fact that the building was once a Serbian military base had a psychological impact on the students. Teachers at the school gave students messages of unity and solidarity and tried to help them forget about the bad days of the past,” Akay stated.
In most parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian students attend the same schools but are instructed in separate classrooms. They are offered courses by teachers from their own ethnicity. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) wants to abolish the system and enable students from all ethnicities to receive an education in mixed classrooms.