By Talha Ozturk
BELGRADE, Serbia (AA) – A Turkish school in Albania began the 2018-2019 academic year on Thursday.
Turkey’s Maarif Foundation (TMF) welcomed the new academic session in a ceremony in New York High School and New York Basic Education schools in Tirana.
Speaking at the ceremony, TMF's Albania Director Fatih Cankurt said the foundation is a formal educational institution representing the Republic of Turkey across the world.
“As one the largest educational institution across the world, TMF is taking its first step in Albania, our sister and friendly country,” Cankurt said.
"TMF aims to raise successful and self-confident world leaders … in Albania and the Balkans as well as Africa, America and Turkey," he added.
The foundation currently operates in 29 countries with 40 centers, Cankurt said.
In August, TMF took over the University of New York Tirana — with total of 1,020 students in kindergarten, primary and junior high school — and its sister institutions.
Turkey established the Maarif Foundation (TMF) as the state agency in 2016 after a coup attempt to take over the administration of overseas schools linked to Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO).
The state-run education body also establishes schools and education centers abroad.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the July 15 coup attempt, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, including the military, police, judiciary, and schools.