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Court Unfreezes Shares of Georgian ‘Guelen-Connected’ University

By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, October 24
The shares and assets of the International Black Sea University (IBSU), which was banned in late August from taking in new students for one year, have been unfrozen by Tbilisi City Court on October 22.

The Authorization Council of Higher Education Institutions stated they decided to ban the university from receiving students for a year because of tax penalty of 2013 that the university had to pay to the state budget.

However, the university paid the debt GEL 735,000 to the budget after its authorization was suspended. But as the lawyer of IBSU, Mariam Chikovani says, there were no grounds of suspending the authorization of the university for not paying tax, as they had a proper amount of money on the account and were about to pay when the authorization was suspended.

The lawyer says they continue court dispute against the Education Ministry over the money issue.

On 15th October, the Appeals Board, which exists at the National Center for Development of Education, returned the IBSU issue to the Authorization Council for review. The decision has not been made yet.

On 16 August, Turkish Ambassador to Georgia Fatma Ceren Yazgan told Turkish Anadolu Agency that terrorism-affiliated “FETO organization still has its university in Georgia.” FETO is a hypothetical terrorist organization that the Turkish government claims is affiliated with opposition figure Fethullah Guelen.

Georgian NGOs think that the decision of banning IBSU to receive new students might be the pressure coming from the Government of Turkey. As it is known IBSU is the part of Caglar Education Institutions and therefore is affiliated with the name of Guelen, considered by the official Ankara as a chief organizer of the coup attempt in July 2016.

Two Turkish educational institutions were shut down in Georgia last year, such as Sahin School and Demirel College, which were also affiliated with the FETO organization and Fethullah Guelen.

One of the managers of Demirel College, Mustafa Emre Cabuk, spent nine months in prison and was released on January 19, 2018, after paying the 1,000 GEL bail. He was also accused of having links with terrorist organizations and was facing extradition to Turkey.