June 25, 2014

İstanbul Municipality removes pro-Hizmet prep school signs

The İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality (İBB) removed the exterior signage of the Fem dershane, a private exam preparatory school, operating in İstanbul's Mecidiyeköy district early on Wednesday on the grounds that the school had violated the municipality's advertising regulations.

A group of municipal police and a fire department squad arrived at the Fem Preparatory School in Mecidiyeköy at around 2:00 a.m. on Wednesday. They divided a large metal sign into three parts with the help of a blow torch and then took the pieces away in a truck as well as removing other signs from the building.

When asked whether he had been informed about either the alleged violation of advertising regulations or an impending removal of the sign, the manager of the prep school, Murat Dinç, said that he was very surprised by the incident and that he had not received any kind of warning letter.

“We have been teaching here for two years and those signs have been hanging up there for more than a year-and-a-half. I don't know what has changed now that would make them come to remove them in the middle of the night without even informing us beforehand,” Dinç said.

According to media reports, employees who were in the building at the time were shocked to see a crane and a fire truck, working to remove the school's signs. When the school management demanded an explanation for the removal, the municipal authorities hesitated to account for their actions.

A Doğan news agency report stated that when the school management asked why the workers had removed the signs, workers eventually responded that they were in violation of the municipality's advertising regulations.

According to an İBB statement, the Fem prep school signs were removed from the building due to a violation of municipal advertising regulations and that all improper signs in the municipality will be removed.

The prep school management called police to the scene while the work was ongoing and police took a statement regarding the incident. The Fem prep schools are close to the faith-based Hizmet movement inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

Meanwhile, it was reported that the prep school has paid all its taxes, including 2,517 TL for the building's sign. An AK Party building with a similar sign is located in Mecidiyeköy, leading some to wonder if the municipality will apply the same restrictions to the party.

Published on Cihan, 25 June 2014, Wednesday

Related Articles