As part of its expansionist neo-Ottoman agenda, the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been building mosques and setting up Islamic educational institutions around the world. The mosque that Ankara is currently constructing in Tirana, Albania, will reportedly be the largest of the dozens of its mosques in the Balkans.
Through the Maarif Foundation — established in 2016 by means of a law enacted by the Turkish parliament, which gave it the authority to open schools abroad — a kindergarden, primary-, middle- and high-schools were built in Tirana. In October 2018, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu was the keynote speaker at the inauguration in Albania of the Maarif-run University of New York Tirana.
According to the 2016 Maarif law, the foundation aims to “give and develop services of formal and informal education abroad.” Some of its activities include “giving scholarships to students, opening schools, educational institutions and dormitories and training educators who will work at these institutions.”