Tuesday, 6 September 2016 - 16:10
Amsterdam school wants compensation from parents over smear campaign
Primary school De Witte Tulp is demanding 45 thousand euros in compensation from six parents who the school accuse of running a "smear campaign" against it. The parents are telling others that De Witte Tulp is a so-called Gulen school - a school that sympathizes with Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen - and that is costing the school pupils and money, AD reports. Fethullah Gulen is seen as the main rival to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who also blames Gulen for a failed military coup in Turkey in July. The attempted coup resulted in increased tensions in the Turkish-Dutch community in the Netherlands, with demonstrations, threats and intimidation happening between the supporters of the two Turkish leaders. "That cost us 45,000 euros so far, and we hold the parents liable for it", Tuncay Catak, board member of De Witte Tulp in Amsterdam, said to the newspaper. "They set up a committee 'Safe to school' and a WhatsApp group, all to approach parents and students to convince them to leave the school." "Defamation, libel, threats, they do it all. Dozens of our students already left, even more than that. A man with a hood stood at the gate last week harassing children and saying he would 'liberate' them from our school. They have to stop this." he continued. He hopes the civil case filed against the six parents will put an end to this. This case is similar to that of primary school De Roos in Zaandam, who sued four mothers in an effort to stop them accusing the school of sympathizing with Gulen on social media. The case appeared in court last week and continues today with a mediation meeting between school and parents.