Jean-Jacques Cornish

Mozambicans won’t close down Gulen schools as Erdogan wants

Turkish schools are at the forefront of quality education in Mozambique as they are in hundreds countries across the globe.

There’s no intention of closing them down as Recep Tayyip Erdogan requested when he visited Maputo last month.

The Turkish premier maintain the schools are terrorist cells run by exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen whom he maintains mounted a coup against him last year.

The colourful, secular Willow International School in Maputo looks nothing like a terrorist cell.

The 630 pupils are indeed currently playing politics.

They’re about to elect their head boy and head girl.

But as pupils go, their preoccupation  is preparing for the Cambridge exams.

Their parents, who pay about R45 000 a year to keep them here, fully support this.

Abdul Carimo Sau says there’s no chance of closing schools that are befitting so many children.

“Those schools have been in Mozanbique a long time and are doing  people a lot of good. We don’t want what is happening other countries to be brought here,” he says.

His message to President Erdogan is simple: don’t try to export your political problems to Mozambique.

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.