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The News in Brief

Tuesday, February 7
Georgia Closes Gülen-Affiliated School in Batumi

The National Center for Education Quality Enhancement (NCEQE), an agency at the Georgian Ministry of Education, which studies the conformity of educational institutions with the standards set by the Georgian legislation, decided to close down the Batumi Refaiddin Sahin Friendship School, operated by the Chaglar Educational Institutions, a Gülen-affiliated network in Georgia.

The NCEQE authorization council cancelled the school's “authorization,” a certificate required for any institution to carry out high educational activities in Georgia, at its meeting on February 3, citing “significant problems with respect to student enrolment”.

The decision led to an outcry among teachers, parents and students of the school, who are arguing that the move is “politically-motivated”.

Principal of Batumi Refaiddin Sahin Friendship School, Elguja Davitadze, issued an open letter to the Prime Minister of Georgia, naming the NCEQE decision as “illegal.”

“The reason for cancelling the authorization was the transfer of six non-Georgian students from Turkish-language classes to Georgian-language classes, in the absence of any law or regulation with respect to changing the sectors, but the termination of the Turkish sector and [the subsequent] transfer of students to the Georgian sector was implemented in accordance with the decision of the very same authorization council on September 4, 2015,” Davitadze stated in the letter.

Davitadze added that the NCEQE conducted “unplanned” monitoring process ”three times in the past few months” based on “artificially-created” and “non-existent” reasons. “The decision raises questions that it is part of a deliberate policy of restricting and barring the work of the Sahin School in Georgia,” he added.

Davitadze called on the Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili to “protect rights of 340 students, their parents and teachers” and do not allow “illegal closure of the school, which has been in the country’s service for many years.”

Education Minister Aleksandre Jejelava, who commented on the issue February 6, said that the school violated “concrete” legal requirements.

“Unfortunately, the school, as well as other schools, the authorization of which was also cancelled, did not meet concrete, very concrete legal requirements and you can verify this with the NCEQE, that Georgian schools are also monitored just like the Turkish and French schools,” Jejelava stated.

He also added that the school documentation "did not comply" with legal requirements, "in other words the documentation of school students was not complete."

Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili, who commented on the issue on February 6, linked the decision to "the political processes" in Turkey.

"Political processes of a neighboring country should not be reflected in the country’s educational institutions, which are registered by our legislation, have certification and work in compliance with legislation," Nanuashvili explained.

Roe dear, wounded by poachers, dies

A roe dear, wounded by poachers in the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park, has died.

Poachers wounded a roe deer in the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park couple a days ago.

According to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, during anti-poaching activities, the rangers heard gunfire, and as a result of the search operation, they found a wounded roe deer.

According to a trail in the snow, the roe was supposedly wounded by two people. The poachers managed to escape, and their identities are unknown.

The roe was taken to the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park Administration and was rendered medical assistance.