Turkey's Maarif Foundation plans to provide free education to orphans and poor children after taking over schools belonging to Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) in Afghanistan, according to the body's senior official.
Maarif Foundation Afghanistan Country Director Mucip Uludag told Anadolu Agency the schools were handed over to the body after 16 months of negotiations with Afghan officials.
An agreement on this issue is the biggest education deal between the two countries that will provide many advantages to Afghanistan and the Afghan people, Uludag said.
According to the agreement, the foundation will also double the number of schools the foundation takes over in Afghanistan, he said.
"Previously, only elites were benefiting from these schools. We will do something new and provide free education to orphans and poor children who are successful in their studies," he said.
Uludag said the foundation will also open vocational schools.
He also said the current standards of schools in Afghanistan were below world standards.
"In order to raise these schools to world standards and to modernize them, a fund worth $30 million will be transferred with the support of our President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish people.
"In this way, the physical conditions, quality and capacity of the schools will be improved," Uludag added.
According to official figures compiled by Anadolu Agency, 9,633 students are currently studying abroad in schools taken over by the Maarif Foundation.
Turkey established the Maarif Foundation in 2016 after the defeated coup in Turkey as part of its efforts to take over the administration of overseas schools linked to FETO. It also establishes schools and education centers abroad.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Ankara accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.