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Saudi Arabia to close Turkish schools by end of academic year

The UK’s top rated King’s College will be the first British independent school to come to Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is planning to close eight Turkish schools affiliated to the Ministry of National Education and operating across the Kingom by the end of the current academic year, Anadolu has reported. The Saudi Education Ministry delivered its closure notices to the schools in Tabuk, Riyadh, Ta'if and Jeddah provinces, while officials visited the schools in Dammam and Abha to inform the authorities about the decision.

"Activities at the Turkish schools will be terminated at the end of this academic year," said the ministry. "Transfers of students to other schools of their choice will be facilitated. The school administrators should inform parents about the decision."

In August 2019, the ministry made a series of modifications to its school textbooks altering the legacy of the Ottoman Empire in the Arabian peninsula and referring to it as an "occupation".

Ties between Ankara and Riyadh had hit their lowest point following the murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in October 2018. It is alleged that the killing was approved and sanctioned by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

Relations were also strained the year before, when Turkey sided with Qatar after a Saudi-led boycott was imposed on the Gulf State which has since been lifted. Moreover, both countries opposed the 2013 military coup against Egypt's first democratically-elected President, the late Mohamed Morsi, which was supported by the Saudis.

Turkey wants to restore diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia. On Tuesday, presidential advisor and spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told Reuters that the Turkish presidency welcomed the kingdom's trial last year, after which eight individuals were imprisoned for the Khashoggi murder.

READ: Turkey welcomes Saudi Arabia's Khashoggi trial, wants to restore relations

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