One in five children withdrawn from Amsterdam school linked to Turkish Gülen movement

School corridor genericAt least a fifth of children at an Amsterdam school linked to the Turkish Gülen movement have been withdrawn by their parents, the Parool reports.

Four security guards greeted parents and children at the gates of the Witte Tulp in the city’s Nieuw-West district on the first day of the new school year on Monday. The school is on a ‘boycott list’ that has been circulating within the Dutch Turkish community since the failed coup against President Erdogan on 15 July.

Erdogan has accused exiled opposition leader Fetullah Gülen of orchestrating the coup and asked the United States to extradite the Islamic cleric, but the US says Turkey must first show evidence that he was involved.

The primary school and the Cosmicus organisation which runs it have been labelled Gülen schools by Erdogan’s supporters in the Netherlands. Tensions within the Dutch Turkish community have increased in the wake of the coup, with police receiving nearly 70 reports of threats and intimidation in Rotterdam alone.

One father dropping his children off at the Witte Tulp school denied it was run by Gülen sympathisers. ‘I know that several Turkish political movements are represented within the school’s management,’ he said.

But another mother said there were signs of polarisation in the school playground. ‘Groups are being formed,’ she said. ‘I don’t wear a headscarf and the women who do won’t accept that. I want to take my child out of the Witte Tulp as soon as possible.’

The number of children leaving the school is likely to increase in the coming weeks, as pupils can only be removed from a school once an alternative place has been arranged. A spokeswoman for the city’s association of school boards was unable to say how many applications for transfers have been received.

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