100 kids removed from Amsterdam schools tied to alleged Turkey dissident

Turkish flag (Photo: Bahar/Wikimedia Commons). (Turkish flag (Photo: Bahar/Wikimedia Commons))

Over a hundred kids were removed from Amsterdam schools linked to Turkish preacher Fethullah Gulen - rival of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the person behind a recent , according to the Turkish government. The development has both the Amsterdam municipality and the boards of the affected schools on edge, Het Parool reports. 

In Amsterdam the two "Gulen schools" are Witte Tulp in Nieuw-West and Cosmicus Impuls in Noord. These two schools, along with Islamic primary school De Roos in Zaandam, were listed as affiliated to the Gulen movement on social media in the wake of the failed coup in Turkey.

The two Amsterdam schools do not know yet how many children are leaving, but judging from the number of new enrollments at other schools in the city, it is more than a hundred. According to Diane Middelkoop, director of the Broad Admin Consultation Amsterdam, many parents enrolled their kids in three or four new schools over the summer, so it is hard to say exactly how many transfers there will be.

"Schools are not open yet, also do not always have space and kids have to have a new schoop before they can be deregistered somewhere", Middelkoop explains. And most schools want an interview or two with the parents before accepting a new student. "We can not just place everyone blindly."

This could mean that a number of kids will still attend the "Gulen schools" for a few weeks before the transfer takes place. This has Turkish-Dutch parents worried for the safety of their kids and that they will be associated with the Gulen movement, according to the newspaper.

Given the size of the group and the concerns involved, the municipality and school boards decided to organize the transfers centrally, outside the schools, according to Het Parool. While this makes managing things easier, it is still a raw deal for the two schools - Cosmicus Impuls is a small school that's only existed for three years and while Witte Tulp saw some explosive growth these past years, both schools are worried about their future.