by Uzay Bulut , The Philos Project =
It has recently been revealed that Syria is not the only country in which young, eager minds receive Islamic State schooling. According to some reports in Turkish newspapers and prosecutor indictments, such schools have operated in Turkey, as well.
On March 2, the newspaper Cumhuriyet published a piece on ISIS education centers in Ankara. The chief prosecutor of Ankara prepared an indictment for 20 ISIS suspects including Ahmet Dogan, who goes by the nom de guerre “Ebu Eslem.” The 20 individuals are accused of opening four illegal schools in Ankara where children were given religious education to become ISIS militants. Ahmet Dogan is also believed to be the “amir” (commander) of the Ankara branch of ISIS. The schools are in the neighborhoods of Sincan, Altındağ, Etimesgut and Çubuk, according to the indictment. The children were given report cards at the end of their education.
The police raided the school in Altındağ and found “organizational documents” belonging to ISIS, as well as Islamist books like The Morality of Salaf (the first three generations of the Islam’s founder, Muhammad); Regarding the Road to Jihad, which has the photo of Osama bin Laden on its cover; Soldiers of Jihad on the Path to Martyrdom; and The Lost Minaret by Dr. Abdullah Azzam. Among the other materials police found were 15 blue and pink student report cards with ISIS symbols.
Islamic State supporters established some other “children’s schools” in Istanbul, the Turkish media reported on February 10. In those schools, children were provided with a religious education on jihad and military training on how to use Kalashnikovs (a type of rifle or submachine gun).
The children who “succeeded” in their classes were given documents of commendation. Prosecutors prepared an indictment about the 35 Islamic State suspects who reportedly engaged in the training of the students, who included children of ISIS members who died in conflict zones, who have been jailed, or are still in Syria or Iraq fighting for ISIS.
Uzay Bulut, a Turkish journalist and political analyst, is a fellow at the Middle East Forum.