ULAN BATOR, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Hakan Cavusoglu, who is visiting Mongolia, has asked Ulan Bator to hand over schools linked to the Gulen movement led by U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, the Mongolian Government press office said Thursday.
Ankara regards Gulen as the mastermind behind the failed military coup in Turkey on July 15, 2016, which left 250 people dead and nearly 2,200 injured.
"The presence of schools linked to Gulen in Mongolia could damage friendly bilateral ties between our two countries. Therefore, Mongolia should hand over the schools to Turkey's Maarif Foundation," Cavusoglu said at a meeting with his Mongolian counterpart Ulziisaikhan Enkhtuvshin.
Turkey established the Maarif Foundation in 2016 to take over the administration of overseas schools linked to Gulen. Turkey claims that the schools serve Gulen movement's objective of infiltrating state institutions.
Enkhtuvshin said the Mongolian Government has always stood with Turkey in its fight against terrorism. It would pay attention to the issue and take necessary steps to hand over these schools to the Maarif Foundation.
There are five Turkish schools in Mongolia with around 2,000 students. The schools have been teaching science and English to Mongolian kids for two decades.