Turkey’s Hunt for Alleged Coup Participants Extends Overseas

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressing a rally of supporters in Ankara on Wednesday. PHOTO: KAYHAN OZER/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressing a rally of supporters in Ankara on Wednesday. PHOTO: KAYHAN OZER/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

WSJ, by DION NISSENBAUM andEMRE PEKER Aug. 11, 2016:

ISTANBUL—Turkey’s government is seeking several overseas military officers and diplomatic staff who fled their posts in the wake of the failed coup and could be seeking asylum, potentially raising new political headaches for Turkey and its Western allies.

Two Turkish military attachés posted in Greece and their families boarded a ferry bound for Italy last week, but their current whereabouts aren’t known, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.

They disappeared just before a request from Turkey on Sunday to have Athens revoke their diplomatic passports, according to a person familiar with the matter.

In addition, a Turkish military officer stationed at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s allied command in Norfolk, Va., Rear Adm. Mustafa Zeki Ugurlu, has rebuffed a request to return home and requested asylum in the U.S., according to a U.S. official familiar with the matter and Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency.

The U.S. official declined to comment further. NATO officials referred a request for comment to Turkey.

Meanwhile, Mr. Cavusoglu said that two Turkish civil servants in Bangladesh fled to New York, and another in Kazan, Russia, went to Japan after the coup attempt. Turkish authorities are in contact with their foreign counterparts to secure their return, he said.

“We will return these traitors to Turkey,” he said.

The State Department referred questions about the reported asylum requests to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration agency, which refused to comment, citing privacy rules.

Japanese officials in Washington referred questions to Tokyo.

Greek officials declined to comment on the two military attachés who had been posted in Greece. A spokeswoman for Italy’s Interior Ministry said Turkey has informed it of their possible presence in Italy and that the ministry was checking.

How Turkey’s allies deal with the missing diplomats could have significant impact on already tense relations with Ankara. Washington and European Union capitals are trying to balance support for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the wake of the July 15 coup attempt, in which 271 people were killed, and concern about the crackdown that followed against perceived enemies of the state.

The Turkish government imposed a state of emergency last month and launched a sweeping campaign against those it accuses of links to Fethullah Gulen, the U.S.-based Turkish imam who Turkey says directed the coup.

More than 18,000 people, including top military officers, have been arrested and thousands of others detained. Thousands of teachers have been suspended, university deans have been forced to resign, dozens of journalists have been arrested, and businesses with alleged links to Mr. Gulen have been shut down.

Mr. Gulen, whose organization is designated a terror group in Turkey and who is on Turkey’s most-wanted list, has repeatedly denied playing any role in the failed military takeover.

Western officials have urged the government to be judicious in its response, expressing concern about respect for the rule of law. That has inflamed tensions with Mr. Erdogan, who has accused some allies of aligning themselves with the coup-plotters.

He is demanding that the U.S. extradite Mr. Gulen, but U.S. officials have told The Wall Street Journal that they haven’t seen sufficient evidence for that judicial process to succeed.

As part of its hunt for alleged Gulen supporters, the Turkish government has ordered the return of some officials serving abroad. Mr. Cavusoglu said that on the night of the coup attempt, some Turkish military attachés abroad had notified ambassadors that the armed forces had taken over.

Turkey has received some help from other countries. Saudi Arabia detained the Turkish attaché from Kuwait as he was trying to leave, and the United Arab Emirates sent back from Dubai two brigadier generals who had been based in Afghanistan, the foreign minister said.

As for the two military attachés in Greece, Mr. Cavusoglu said that Greek officials spotted the men and their families boarding an Italy-bound ferry after reviewing CCTV footage at Turkey’s request.

One of the Turkish attachés has family in the Netherlands and might be heading there, he said.

Turkey also has asked Greece to return eight Turkish military personnel who flew a Turkish helicopter to Greece as the coup crumbled.

The eight are awaiting Greek court decisions on their asylum requests.

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New Ties Emerge Between Clinton And Mysterious Islamic Cleric

New York Sen. Hillary Clinton speaks at the Turkish Cultural Center, Sept. 2007. (Youtube screengrab)

New York Sen. Hillary Clinton speaks at the Turkish Cultural Center, Sept. 2007. (Youtube screengrab)

Daily Caller, by Chuck Ross, July 13, 2016:

A newly-released email and lobbying documents filed with Congress reveals new ties between Clintonworld and members of a network operated by a mysterious Islamic cleric from Turkey.

Connections between Clinton and acolytes of the imam, Fethullah Gulen, could muddle the complex relationship between the U.S. and Turkey, a key NATO ally, if the former secretary of state wins the White House.

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has mounted an aggressive crackdown against Gulen and his followers, known as Gulenists. Erdoğan, who was once allied with Gulen, has even personally asked President Obama to extradite the 74-year-old guru, who has lived in self-exile in Pennsylvania’s Pocono mountains since 1999.

(RELATED: Followers Of A Mysterious Islamic Cleric Have Donated Heavily To Hillary’s Campaign And Charity)

Erdoğan has accused Gulen of attempting to undermine the Turkish government. Gulen’s followers control many Turkish institutions, including the media, courts, and police force.

In addition to muddying that complex geopolitical dynamic, a 2009 email recently released by Judicial Watch provides yet another example of access being provided to a Clinton campaign and Clinton Foundation donor.

In the April 1, 2009 message, a Gulen follower named Gokhan Ozkok asked Clinton deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin for help in connecting one of his allies to President Obama.

Ozkok is founding board member of the Turkish Cultural Center and part of a network of businesses and non-profits affiliated with the Gulen movement, also known as Hizmet.

Ozkok served as national finance co-chair of the pro-Clinton Ready PAC. He gave $10,000 to the committee in 2014 and $2,700 to Clinton’s campaign last year. He is also listed on the Turkish Cultural Center’s website as a member of the Clinton Global Initiative, one of the non-profit arms of the Clinton Foundation. He’s given between $25,000 and $50,000 to the Clinton charity.

Another link between Gulenists and the Clinton orbit was revealed in a lobbying registration disclosure filed last month with the Senate. It shows that a Gulen-aligned group called the Alliance for Shared Values hired the Clinton-connected Podesta Group to lobby Congress on its behalf. The group seeks to lobby for the “promotion of peace, tolerance and interfaith dialogue.”

The group’s executive director is Alp Aslandogan, a former professor at universities in Texas. He has also donated to Clinton’s political endeavors, campaign finance records show.

The Podesta Group is a natural choice for those seeking influence with Clinton. The firm was co-founded by John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, and his brother Tony, a major Clinton campaign bundler.

Through various non-profit groups, both Gulenists promote the cleric’s teachings, which are relatively moderate and pro-Western. They are also involved in the Gulen movement’s money-making endeavor: a vast network of taxpayer-funded charter schools.

Those schools, which number more than 150, have been a source of controversy for the Gulen movement.

Federal investigators have reportedly investigated some of the schools for using work visas to bring Turkish citizens to the U.S. to teach. In some cases, taxpayer funds were used to pay immigration and legal fees for family members of teachers who worked at the facilities. Funds allocated to the schools have also been funneled to contractors controlled by Turkish nationals with connections to the Gulen movement.

A 2011 New York Times article focused on suspicious ties between Gulenist schools operating in Texas under the name Harmony Public Schools. Harmony contracted with a company controlled by a pro-Gulen non-profit called the Cosmos Foundation. In 2002, Aslandogan purchased property that was later sold to Harmony. He also founded the Texas Gulf Foundation, which has also been awarded taxpayer-funded contracts to provide services to Gulen schools.

Aslandogan did not return a request for comment. Nor did Ozkok, who has affiliations with Gulen-connected education firms Sema Education and Apple Education Services.

The partnerships between the schools and contractors allow taxpayer funds to remain within the Gulen network. Teachers at the schools, many of whom are not fluent in English, are also used to help finance Hizmet, according to one former teacher at a Gulen institute.

The teacher, who is now a government whistleblower, told “60 Minutes” in 2012 that Turkish teachers are required to return a large portion of their salary to the Gulen network. She said that her Turkish husband, who taught at one of the schools, was required to return 40 percent of his salary.

Accusations of visa fraud and other impropriety, which Gulenists largely deny, have contributed to an increased profile for Gulen, who ended up staying in the U.S. permanently after coming here for medical treatment.

Erdoğan’s campaign to rid Turkey of Gulen’s influence has also thrust the recluse onto the public spotlight.

On top of his efforts to crackdown on Gulenists within the Turkish media, judiciary and police, Erdoğan has sought to exert influence over Gulen in the U.S.

During a 2014 visit with President Obama, Erdoğan, who served as prime minister prior to his presidential term, reportedly asked Obama for Gulen’s extradition. The Turkish government has also retained the law firm Amsterdam & Partners in an effort to undermine Gulen and Gulenists in the courts as well as the media.

The connections between the Gulen movement and Clinton are not the first to be revealed. They also add to questions about what it is the Gulenists want from Clinton and whether the Democrat has rewarded their financial support with favors.

Last year The Daily Caller reported that numerous Gulen followers have donated to Clinton’s various political campaigns and to her family charity. One Gulen movement leader, Recep Ozkan, donated between $500,000 and $1 million to the Clinton Foundation.

As senator from New York, Clinton gave a keynote address at the Turkish Cultural Center’s annual banquet.

The email to Abedin, which is the first piece of communication showing that a Gulen follower had direct access to Clinton’s staff, sought a favor.

“Please tell Madam Secretary that it would be great if President Obama can include a 15 minutes [sic] meeting with Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary-General of the Organization of of [sic] the Islamic Conference (OIC), in his trip to Turkey,” wrote Ozkok.

April 1, 2009 email from Gokhan Ozkok to Huma Abedin. Obtained by Judicial Watch

April 1, 2009 email from Gokhan Ozkok to Huma Abedin. Obtained by Judicial Watch

It is unclear if Abedin forwarded Ozkok’s request to Clinton or anyone else in the Obama administration. But Ihsanoglu, who is an ally of Gulen’s and lost to Erdogan in the 2014 presidential election, did meet with Obama in Istanbul several days after the email. There, Obama reportedly extended an invitation to Ihsanoglu to visit the White House. The academic visited in June 2009 and reportedly asked Obama to create a U.S. ambassador to the Muslim world.

Huma Abedin (R) and Clinton campaign spokesman Nick Merrill (L). (REUTERS)

Huma Abedin (R) and Clinton campaign spokesman Nick Merrill (L). (REUTERS)

Some terror watchdog groups flagged the meetings, pointing to Ihsanoglu’s past praise of the terrorist group Hamas and for Sudanese president and U.S. foe Omar al-Bashir. But Ihsanoglu does not appear to be a radical firebrand like so many Islamists in the Middle East.

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Clare Lopez: Gulen and the Gulenist Movement

Center for Security Policy, May 10, 2016

Clare M. Lopez, Vice President for Research and Analysis at the Center for Security Policy, is the co-author of the recently published book “Gülen and the Gülenist Movement: Turkey’s Islamic Supremacist Cult and its Contributions to the Civilization Jihad.” Fethullah Gülen is the head of a vast political network in Turkey that promotes theocracy and has infiltrated the Turkish state. Gülen lives in the U.S. where he has established a significant number of charter schools. Her remarks included commentary on Gülen’s erstwhile ally, now opponent, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

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Why should Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen operate charter schools on U.S. Military bases?

GULEN-630x357The Hill, by Robert R. Amsterdam, March 31, 2016:

A secretive Islamic movement is trying to infiltrate the U.S. military by establishing and operating publicly-funded charter schools targeted toward children of American service personnel.

That charge may sound like a conspiracy theory from the lunatic fringe, but it is real and it is happening right now.  The most immediate threat is in Nevada, where Coral Academy of Science Las Vegas (CASLV) is currently negotiating with the United States Air Force to locate a charter school at Nellis Air Force Base, with classes starting this fall.  What is not widely known is that CASLV is part of a nationwide organization of charter schools and other businesses headed by Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, a reclusive but influential Imam living under self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania to avoid criminal prosecution in his native Turkey.

Our law firm has been engaged by the Republic of Turkey – a key NATO ally in a hotbed region – to conduct a wide-ranging investigation into the operations and geopolitical influence of the Gülen organization, which is behind the Coral Academy of Science and over 140 other public charter schools scattered across 26 American states.  Our investigation, still in its early stages, reveals that the Gülen organization uses charter schools and affiliated businesses in the U.S. to misappropriate and launder state and federal education dollars, which the organization then uses for its own benefit to develop political power in this country and globally.

Aside from defrauding American taxpayers, the Gülen organization has an even more ominous objective in the United States.  The organization is one of the country’s largest recipients of H1-B “specialty occupation” visas, which it uses to import Turkish teachers into its charter schools, supposedly because local U.S. talent is not available to fill math and science teaching positions in its charter schools.  The Gülen organization illegally threatens to revoke these visas unless the Turkish teachers agree to kick back part of their salary to the organization.

More importantly, the Turkish teachers in Gülen organization charter schools are evaluated not on the basis of their teaching skills, but rather on whether they achieve monthly goals in a secret point system designed to instil Turkish culture and Gülenist ideology in our American students. The goal, we are told, is to develop a Gülenist following of high achievers, incubated in our local community schools across the country.

The Gülen organization has been able to grow in the U.S. largely because it conceals both its identity and its motives.  The first line of defense for Gülenist charter schools and companies has been to deny any affiliation with Fethullah Gülen (their officers and directors claim that they are merely “inspired by” Gülen’s religious teachings), as if the simple creation of business entities in which Fethullah Gülen himself holds no ownership interest could alter his ultimate control over the organization.  In reality, the governing boards of the Gülen charter schools are populated disproportionately by loyal Turkish men answering to a handful of Imams who rule over defined regions across the U.S., reporting ultimately to Gülen in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania.

In Nevada, CASLV is a three-campus school operating under a charter held by tax-exempt Coral Education Corp., headquartered in Reno.  Three of Coral’s board members are Turkish, one of whom was formerly the Principal at two other Gülen organization charter schools, the Sonoran Science Academy at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona and the Bay Area Technology School in California.

Unfortunately, Nellis Air Force Base is not the Gülen organization’s first stab at a U.S. military base.  The organization successfully opened a school on Davis-Monthan AFB in 2009, and it tried but failed to gain access to Marine Corps Base Hawaii and Naval Station Great Lakes in Illinois.  In California, Magnolia Public Schools applied for a charter in Oceanside, where Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton is located, although it temporarily withdrew its application after our law firm pointed out Magnolia’s connection to the Gülen organization earlier this year.

Lest there be any doubt about the objectives in the United States, the strategy of subtly indoctrinating school children into the Gülen movement is a familiar one overseas, and there is great peril in allowing it to flourish in this country.  In his native Turkey, Gülen created a network of hundreds of schools that have produced – over the past three decades – a vast cadre of followers now prepared to perform his bidding from official positions in government, law enforcement, the judiciary and the media.  Although precise numbers are impossible to verify, some have estimated that he currently controls more than half of the entire Turkish police force. The Economist newspaper compared Gülen’s influence in Turkey to the Freemason infiltration of law enforcement and judicial elites in Europe during the last century. Numerous documented cases in Turkey involving planted evidence, tainted prosecutions and illegal incarceration of Gülen critics underscore that he is quite willing to abuse his power and influence.

The same game plan is playing out, at last count, in 101 countries on every habitable continent.  With an estimated six million followers globally and assets in the range of $20-$50 billion, the Gülen organization has managed to conceal a great deal about its doctrine, mission or objectives.  Whether Gülen’s followers are classified as a religious sect, a commercial enterprise, a political movement or – as Dutch legislators concluded – a cult, it should be a matter of significant concern for our security and regulatory authorities.

In light of Gülen’s modus operandi elsewhere, the Department of Homeland Security should be asking itself why such a non-transparent, religion-based organization would seek to establish itself on our military bases, teaching the children of our service men and women.

Robert R. Amsterdam is founder of Amsterdam and Partners LLP, an international law firm based in Washington, DC and London.

Gülen Movement’s Atlantic Institute Infiltrates Maitland, FL Holocaust Center

20160208_GULENMOVEMENTTERRORISMFamily Security Matters, by Alan Kornman, Feb. 9, 2016:

The Atlantic Institute will be partnering with the Maitland Holocaust Center and the Interfaith Council of Central Florida on a special program entitled, Is History Repeating Itself? Jewish and Muslim Immigrant Experiences in America, scheduled for Thursday February 25, 2016 at the Holocaust Center, 851 N Maitland Avenue in Maitland, FL.

The Atlantic Institute is partnered with the Alliance for Shared Values which is openly affiliated with the Gülen Movements Hizmet social initiatives in the United States.  The Atlantic Institute on their website, praises Mr. Fethullah Gülen as their Imam and political leader.

Fact #1

Recently, FBI agents carried out raids at 19 Gülen Charter schools in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio as part of an “ongoing white-collar crime matter.” The investigations are still ongoing however, this is a clue the Atlantic Institute and the Gülen Movement are not all about interfaith peace and love.

Fact #2

IBTimes, Michael Kaplan reports on 10/29/15,  “Fethullah Gülen has been placed on Turkey’s most wanted terrorist list along with leaders of the Islamic State militant group…the Turkish government seeks Gülen’s extradition from the U.S.”  This is a clue there is a serious terrorist problem with the Gülen movement’s leader, Mr. Gülen.

Fact #3

The Middle East Quarterly reports, in 1999, Turkish television aired footage of Mr. Gülen delivering sermons which revealed his plan to implement Shari‘a Islamiyya (Islamic Law) using deceptive tactics.  This fact is a warning to Jews and Christians, approach Gülen franchises like the Atlantic institute with extreme caution.

In the sermon below, Gülen explains how he is an Islamic Law supremacist without fear or remorse.

You must move in the arteries of the system without anyone noticing your existence until you reach all the power centers … until the conditions are ripe, they [the followers] must continue like this. If they do something prematurely, the world will crush our heads, and Muslims will suffer everywhere, like in the tragedies in Algeria, like in 1982 [in] Syria … like in the yearly disasters and tragedies in Egypt. The time is not yet right. You must wait for the time when you are complete and conditions are ripe, until we can shoulder the entire world and carry it … You must wait until such time as you have gotten all the state power, until you have brought to your side all the power of the constitutional institutions in Turkey … Until that time, any step taken would be too early-like breaking an egg without waiting the full forty days for it to hatch. It would be like killing the chick inside. The work to be done is [in] confronting the world. Now, I have expressed my feelings and thoughts to you all-in confidence … trusting your loyalty and secrecy. I know that when you leave here-[just] as you discard your empty juice boxes, you must discard the thoughts and the feelings that I expressed here.

To date, Huseyin Peker Executive Director of The Atlantic Institute in Orlando, FL has not publicly condemned these problematic statements from their spiritual leader Mr. Fethullah Gülen, the designated terrorist.

Interlocking Directorships

Coincidentally, Pam Kancher, Executive Director of the Maitland Holocaust Center, is also on the Advisory Board of The Gülen Movements Atlantic Institute.  One can only guess she didn’t do a Google search on the Atlantic Institute and Mr. Fethullah Gülen before partnering with them.  Perhaps it is this interlocking Board of Directorships that drives Ms. Kancher to blindly allow The Atlantic Institute to dictate their false narrative there is a moral equivalence between Jewish immigrants from the 1900’s to WW2 and the current Syrian refugee’s.

What The Gülen Movement Is Selling

The Atlantic Institute is promoting the February 25th event this way, “It’s difficult to imagine any political discussion today that does not include some mention of immigration. There are increasing concerns about border security, and ongoing debates about who we will allow in to our country and who we must keep out.  

For the Jewish community, particularly among Survivors and their families, this concern feels in some ways like their own history.  Jewish immigrants to America at the beginning of the 1900s and up to WWII era faced many of the same types of suspicions that Muslim-Americans, particularly immigrants, face today.

Jewish Persecution Has More In Common With The Syrian & Yazidi Christians

Joel B. Pollak, in his 11/17/15 article, Why Syrian Refugees Are Not Like Jewish Refugees in WW2, makes this compelling observation challenging the entire premise of the Feb 25th event at the Maitland Holocaust Center.  Mr. Pollak says, “Jews were singled out for persecution by the Nazis, not (initially) fleeing an ongoing war. If anyone has a unique moral claim that parallels the Jews of Europe, it is the Syrian Christians, Iraqi Yazidis, and other minorities being persecuted by radical Islamist forces in the Middle East. But that is not true of the broader wave of Syrian refugees. That is not to blame them for the war, but it does suggest there is a good moral case for distinguishing among refugees, rather than admitting all who wish to come.”

Conclusion

Publicly, the Gülen Movement and their franchises sell themselves as a peaceful interfaith group.  I’m sorry to tell you this, many American’s gladly buy into these wolves in sheep’s clothing Islamist interfaith partners because they sell coexistence and peace.  Like Mr. Gulen however, many of these Islamist interfaith groups have very close ties to the Global Jihad Movement.

Dig a little deeper into the Gülen Movement and you find FBI raids, Turkey designating Mr. Gülen a most wanted terrorist, and Mr. Gulen’s use of spycraft to violently spread strict Islamic Law after infiltrating governments power centers, as articulated in his sermon above.

The Atlantic Institute scored a big propaganda victory being invited inside the hallowed halls of the Maitland Holocaust Memorial Center in a deceptive effort to raise the status of Syrian refugees off the backs of persecuted Jews from the pogroms to the Holocaust.  I’m confident behind closed doors the Gülen movement and the Atlantic Institute are pleased how easily manipulated the Maitland, FL Holocaust Memorial Center’s leadership is.

If Pam Kancher, Director of the Maitland Holocaust Center, is sincerely looking to dialogue with a true Muslim reform group; I suggest she contact my friend Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD).

Family Security Matters Contributing Editor Alan Kornman is the regional coordinator of The United West-Uniting Western Civilization for Freedom and Liberty. His email is: alan@theunitedwest.org

Islamist running 140 tax-funded charter schools in U.S.

Muhammad Fethullah Gulen heads a global empire of schools and Islamic cultural centers and is one of Turkey’s most influential spiritual leaders. He lives in exile in the United States and has 140 charters schools in 26 states.

Muhammad Fethullah Gulen heads a global empire of schools and Islamic cultural centers and is one of Turkey’s most influential spiritual leaders. He lives in exile in the United States and has 140 charters schools in 26 states.

WND, by Leo Hohmann, Jan. 17, 2016:

Muhammad Fethullah Gülen is a Turkish Islamist, writer and preacher with a secret plan for bringing Shariah law to America.

Arguably Turkey’s most influential spiritual leader of the past 50 years, Gülen left that country in the late 1990s and now directs his cult-like Islamic movement from a guarded compound in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.

Part of his empire consists of a thriving network of more than 140 charter schools in 26 states that sell themselves to parents as a secular and more academically rigorous alternative to public schools.

As the second largest chain of charter schools in the United States, Gülen schools rake in tens of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars every year.

But the schools — which have innocent-sounding names like the Horizon Science Academies in Illinois, Harmony Schools of Excellence in Texas, Dove Science Academies in Oklahoma and Magnolia Science Academies in California — have long been the subject of investigations into alleged corruption scandals involving influence peddling and visa abuse.

USA Today reported recently that the Gülen faith movement secretly funded 200 overseas trips for congressional lawmakers and staff since 2008.

“Turkish leaders have asked the United States to extradite Gülen from the remote compound in rural Pennsylvania where he has lived for 20 years.

The movement has founded hundreds of charter schools across the United States and around the world, has its own media organizations, and was deeply entrenched with the Turkish regime until a falling out two years ago. That led President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to declare Gülen was running ‘a parallel state’ inside the country with the intent of undermining the government.”

Critics argue that the schools also covertly engage in Islamic missionary outreach, usually after-hours or during school extra-curricular activities.

Anti-Shariah activist Pam Geller says Gülen has been dubbed “the Turkish Khomeini” for a reason.

“It has been widely reported for years that he wants ultimately to restore the Islamic caliphate in Turkey. That alone should make his charter schools in the U.S. a subject of law enforcement scrutiny, but it largely hasn’t,” Geller told WND. “There have been allegations that funds from these schools have gone to a Turkish Islamization movement, Hizmet. The U.S. government shouldn’t be funding Gülen’s schools; it should be investigating them and shutting them down.”

See list of 140 Gülen charter schools in 26 states.

See sampling of state and federal grants to Gülen schools.

Most of the parents of students who attend Gülen charter schools have no idea about Gülen’s background as a Turkish Islamist and believer in civilizational jihad — which is a form of nonviolent jihad focused on infiltrating and overcoming Western nations over time through immigration and exploitation of the civil liberties available in those nations.

But a new book on Gülen and his U.S. schools hopes to blow the lid on his cloak of secrecy.

GulenClare Lopez, co-author with Christopher Holton of “Gülen and the Gulenist Movement: Turkey’s Islamic Supremacist Cult and its Contributions to Civilizational Jihad,” says the movement is extremely secretive but there’s no small amount of information for those willing to dig. She and Holton decided to peel back the layers.

“There have been many articles and of course the movement itself puts out a great deal of material and Fethullah Gülen himself is a prolific author of articles and books,” Lopez told WND.

Lopez, who is vice president of research and analysis for the Center for Security Policy, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank operated by former Defense Department analyst Frank Gaffney, said Gulen is “fundamentally jihadist in outlook,” while promoting orthodox Islamic tenets within a worldwide movement.

Gulen is also heavily involved in the global interfaith movement, which seeks to build bridges between the major faiths of Christianity, Islam and Judaism.

“While not very well known by many Americans he is nevertheless quite influential and works through the schools, cultural organizations and the media to promote not only the orthodox teachings of Islam, but also a positive outlook towards Turkey,” Lopez said. “We’re concerned about its influence on our children, civic leaders and elected officials.”

Listen to Clare Lopez talk about the subject of her new book, the shadowy Gülen movement.

Traditionally the centers of Islam have been based in Saudi Arabia for Sunnis and Iran for Shiites.

But Turkey has always been the wild card. Students of history will recall that it served as the head of the Ottoman Empire for more than 500 years, but crashed and burned in the aftermath of World War I and was steered into a more Western mindset by Ataturk.

Under Erdogan’s AKP party, however, that has all changed, as documented in the film “End Times Eyewitness” by Christian author and filmmaker Joel Richardson.

Erdogan has overturned the secularized Western influence that had banned the hijab and the fez in public places and eliminated the many Shariah-compliant restrictions placed on society.

Asylum in American

Gülen’s cultural empire, including his schools and media companies, had a lot to do with the return of Islamist values in Turkey. But Gülen lost out on the political power struggle and in 1998 fled to the U.S., where he was offered asylum.

In the U.S., Gülen schools are not outwardly Islamic. Any influence in that regard is subtle, Lopez said.

map-of-gulen-organizations-in-US

But he has become expert at buying influence from politicians in Washington and in state Capitols.

“There have been many allegations of abuse of the visa system, kickbacks in salaries, and attempted influencing of school administrators, parents and teachers, journalists, priests and rabbis, everyone,” Lopez said.

Sign the petition! Urge Congress to ‘halt Muslim immigration now!’

In 2013 Gülen and Erdogan had a final falling out.

“These are two powerful men each intent on seizing power for themselves, not that they disagree in any way over the direction to take Turkey, which is away from the West and toward the neo-Ottoman Islamic caliphate,” Lopez says.

The U.S. gave Gülen legal permanent resident status in 2008, and he is now eligible for citizenship.

Soaking the U.S. taxpayer

The amount of public taxpayer money Gulen’s charter schools receive every year runs into the tens of millions. A charter school is essentially operated like a private school only it receives taxpayer funding and does not answer to any widely elected school board.

“There’s all kinds of charter schools in the U.S. that receive taxpayer funding and that is how the Gulen movement has developed its network of schools in the U.S., making them attractive by making them STEM schools, which parents love,” Lopez said.

And when Congress passed the re-authorization of No Child Left Behind late last year, it included increased funding for taxpayer-funded charter schools run by unelected boards.

“Gulen Charter Schools exemplify the unconstitutionality of tax-funded school choice,” writes Charlotte Iserbyt, a former education adviser to President Ronald Reagan, in her blog, “The ABCs of Dumb Down.”

“There is no citizen accountability or oversight,” Iserbyt says. “No wonder there is corruption. Those who think that charters are the solution for Common Core, forget it.”

And for all of the taxpayer money flooding into the Gülen schools, most of the teaching positions go to foreigners who come to the U.S. on H-1B guest-worker visas from Turkey. This is the visa program that GOP presidential hopeful Sen. Marco Rubio wants to expand through his I-Squared bill, tripling the cap on such visas from about 66,000 per year to 195,000 per year.

“To the best of my knowledge in all the research I’ve done, I don’t see that the Gülen schools are being accused of teaching Islamic ideology in the schools, that’s not the issue, rather it’s the abuse of H-1B visa system to bring in Turkish teachers instead of hiring Americans,” Lopez said. “There is alleged abuse of the teachers who are required to kick back a percentage of their salaries, and they do teach a cultural emphasis on Turkey and Islam.”

Charges of influence peddling

The schools also are known for offering lavish, all-expenses paid trips to Turkey for friendly politicians at the state, local and federal level.

The USA Today investigation accuses the Gülen movement of falsifying its funding of trips for U.S. congressional members.

Lopez said teachers and parents have complained that the schools’ main purpose is to promote a love not only for Turkish culture but Islam.

“You’ll see in the book former teachers or people who’ve broken away from the movement who say there is an attempt to inculcate a positive view of Turkey and Islamic culture,” she said.

An Islamist with a hidden agenda

Joel Richardson is a Bible teacher, author and documentary filmmaker.

Joel Richardson is a Bible teacher, author and documentary filmmaker.

Richardson, the Christian author and filmmaker, said Gülen is without a doubt an Islamist with an hidden agenda. His strategy mirrors that of the Muslim Brotherhood, which advocates non-violent civilizational jihad as the means to infiltrate and influence Western societies.

“In the past, he has made very overt comments about the need to infiltrate the arteries of the system and so forth,” Richardson told WND. “On the other hand, he is definitely non-violent and has furthered the idea, popular within some of the Turkish-Islamist movement of non-violent Islamism.”

Erdogan struck harshly against the Gülen movement in Turkey, rooting numerous Gülen supporters out of the government and throwing them in prison. Erdogan has called for the U.S. to extradite Gülen for allegedly subverting the Turkish government.

“In terms of the danger that Gülen represents to the United States, I would say that five years ago, Gülen and his charter schools were a bigger concern,” Richardson said. “They still need to be defunded by the U.S. government. Today, however, compared to the much larger dangers we are facing, including the very real Islamists that Obama has allowed into the U.S. government, or the very real, very violent Islamists that have infiltrated the country, Gülen, with his ideological jihad, is a relatively small fish, in an ever-expanding pond of violent Islamists.”

Lopez said the Gülen movement helped drag Turkey back to its Islamic roots and so his influence should not be under-estimated in the U.S., and certainly should not be given taxpayer funding.

“Look what’s happened to Turkey, the Islamists were voted in, and Erdogan is on a neo-Ottoman path to take Turkey back to its roots as a jihadist state, so I think there is ever good reason to be concerned about his activities (in the U.S.),” Lopez said.

BOOK RELEASE: The Gulen Movement: Turkey’s Islamic Supremacist Cult and its Contributions to the Civilization Jihad

Center for Security Policy, Dec. 18, 2015:

ISLAMIC SUPREMACISM DOES BUSINESS IN U.S. VIA A TURKISH CULT:

GULEN MOVEMENT IS AN ENGINE FOR ‘CIVILIZATION JIHAD’

It has become increasingly apparent that the United States is not only confronting a violent effort by Islamic supremacists to impose the program they call shariah on the rest of the world, Muslim and non-Muslim, alike. Dangerous as jihadist terrorism is, America – and the rest of the Free World, for that matter – also face what amounts to a pre-violent assault.

The Muslim Brotherhood calls this stealthy, seditious effort to “destroy us from within” a “civilization jihad.” One of its prime practitioners in this country is the Gulen Movement, a cult/business empire led by a reclusive Turkish expatriate, Fethullah Gulen, who operates from within an armed camp in the Poconos.

This movement and its penetration of our country is the subject of an important new monograph published as part of the Center for Security Policy’s Civilization Jihad Reader Series: The Gulen Movement: Turkey’s Islamic Supremacist Cult and Its Contribution to Civilization Jihad in America. It is co-authored by two members of the Center’s senior leadership team: Vice President for Outreach Christopher Holton and Clare Lopez, Vice President for Research and Analysis.

As The Gulen Movement monograph makes clear, one of the most troubling aspects of this cult is its success in advancing the Islamic supremacist agenda – albeit under the guise of Turkish nationalism – via one of the fastest-growing networks of publicly funded charter schools in the United States.GulenMovmentcrop

Fethullah Gulen is wanted on multiple international arrest warrants issued by the regime of his one-time ally, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Here in the United States, government investigators are also looking into numerous allegations against the Gulen Movement involving: indoctrination, influence operations, salary-kickback schemes, visa system abuse and more.

In fact, the allegations against the Gulen Movement extend all the way to the U.S. Congress. In late October 2015, a USA Todayinvestigation revealed that the Gulen Movement had illegally funded more than 200 trips to Turkey for Members of Congress since 2008. It did so using false disclosure statements that concealed their Gulen sponsorship from both the legislators and the House Ethics Committee, which had been misled into approving member- and/or staff participation in the trips.

Thus, in spite of the Gulen Movement’s carefully projected image of harmony, interfaith dialogue, and tolerance, a far more troubling picture is beginning to emerge that the Center believes warrants a closer look. In praise of this new Center publication, Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney said:

In short, the Gulen Movement in Turkey, the United States, and worldwide promotes a far-more problematic program than its adherents would have us believe. It is not a benign cultural and educational institution, or even a billion-plus dollar commercial empire. Rather, it is a prime practitioner of civilization jihad, enabling the spread of the Islamic supremacism’s shariah doctrine under the banner of a Turkey that aspires to renew its role as the Caliphate of the Ottoman empire’s glory days.

U.S school districts, parents and students, federal, state and local governments, media organizations and academic institutions have clearly been successfully targeted by the Gulenists’ influence operations. It is essential that we expose the true nature and civilization jihadist ambitions of Gulen’s taxpayer-subsidized educational empire and the favors its parent movement has deployed – notably, via all-expenses-paid trips to Turkey. This monograph makes an important contribution to that end.

The Center for Security Policy is proud to present this monograph as a superb addition to its Civilization Jihad Reader Series. “The Gulen Movement: Turkey’s Islamic Supremacist Cult and Its Contribution to Civilization Jihad in America” is available for purchase in Kindle andpaperback format at Amazon.com. As with all of the other volumes in this Readers Series, this one can also be downloaded for free at www.SecureFreedom.org.

– 30 –

For further information on the threats shariah poses to our foundational liberal democratic values, see more titles from the Center for Security Policy’s Civilization Jihad Reader Series at https://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/civilization-jihad-reader-series/

Buy “The Gulen Movement: Turkey’s Islamic Supremacist Cult and Its Contribution to Civilization Jihad in America” in paperback or Kindle format on Amazon.

DF of the newly released monograph: Gulen_Final

 

Secretive Turkish Movement Buys U.S. Influence

Fethullah Gülen is pictured at his residence in Saylorsburg, Pa., last September. Reuters

Fethullah Gülen is pictured at his residence in Saylorsburg, Pa., last September. Reuters

By :

HOUSTON — The secretive religious and political movement inspired by the Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen has become a potent, and surprising, force in a set of obscure races for the House of Representatives, as Gülen sympathizers around the country donate tens of thousands of dollars to an overlapping set of candidates.

The movement, whose leader draws intense interest from Washington to Ankara from his compound in rural Pennsylvania, has long involved itself in American life, organizing in particular around a group of charter schools and Turkish community institutions. Started in Turkey as a moderate Islamic movement in the secular 1960s and 1970s, the movement — also known as Hizmet, roughly meaning “service” in Turkish — runs schools, businesses, and media outlets around the world. There is no formal membership: Affiliates say they are “inspired” by Gülen and many groups aligned with him deny any official affiliation.

But the movement’s agenda, in Turkey, has clarified in recent months. Gülen — who left Turkey for the Poconos in 1999 following charges that he was attempting to undermine the Turkish state — broke bitterly with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan last year over a corruption investigation that has rocked Erdogan’s party and that the prime minister has blamed on Gülen and his followers.

Here in the United States, meanwhile, Gülen’s allies have been stepping up their involvement in U.S. politics, emerging as a force in districts from South Texas to South Brooklyn. Liberal Democrats like Yvette Clarke, Sheila Jackson Lee, and Al Green, and conservative Republicans like Ted Poe and Pete Olson have all benefitted from donors affiliated with Gülen in one way or another.

Leaders in the movement deny that there is any top-down organization of the donations (or, indeed, that the Gülen movement has any organization at all), but the patterns of giving suggest some level of coordination in a community beginning to flex its political muscle. Gülen himself reportedly told followers in 2010 that they could only visit him in the Poconos if they donated to their local congressman, according to the Wall Street Journal, though Gülen has denied the comment.

The donations, taken together, comprise significant totals for some U.S. House members in relatively safe seats. For instance, people connected to the Gülen-inspired charter schools donated $23,000 to Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee in October 2013 — a large sum considering Jackson Lee has raised just more than $130,000 this cycle in individual contributions, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Read more at Buzz Feed

Shocking Allegations About Ohio Charter Schools Tied to Controversial Turkish Leader

FBIRAidBy PAULA BOLYARD:

On the heels of an FBI raid of several Horizon-Concept charter schools in Ohio, several former teachers and employees have come forward to make shocking allegations of inflated test scores and falsified attendance records, racist and sexist behavior by Turkish teachers and administrators, and sexual harassment and abuse that went unreported by administrators. At a State Board of Education meeting last week, former employees described not only low educational standards, but also an atmosphere of intimidation — American teachers feared Turkish administrators who fired teachers at the first sign of disloyalty while Turkish teachers were promoted, often despite poor job performance. The charter schools, associated with the Turkish Gülen movement and its controversial leader, Fethullah Gülen, promote Turkish language and culture and many of the schools are known for their academic excellence.

Richard Storrick, who taught at Horizon Science Dayton High School for two and a half years, told members of the state school board about a “sex game” that went on in the middle school classroom of a Turkish teacher, saying that standards differ “whether you are from Turkish descent or of American descent.” Storrick said that no action was taken when the director of the school was informed about the game and in fact, the teacher was re-hired the next year and given additional responsibilities.

Storrick also said that Turkish students were treated differently than American students. “If you were a Turkish student, you knew you could get away with misbehavior, including fighting, and be back the next day. Turkish students were permitted to skip class or school with no repercussions,” Storrick said. Turkish teachers called African American students “dogs” and “monkeys.” Another teacher at the same school, Timothy Neary added, “Racism was an issue. Black kids would be disciplined much more severely than Turkish students. If there was a fight in school, the Turkish students would be back the next day. Many of the black students would get severe consequences.” He also said that sexism was a problem. “It was almost gross how they’d talk to women. They’d tell them to not talk or cut them off in midpoint,” Neary said, adding that the majority of teachers fired were women.

Kelly Kochensparger, who served as the Dayton charter school’s public communications director in addition to her teaching duties, said that middle school students were caught on tape engaging in oral sex. School administrators notified neither the parents nor the authorities, preferring to focus on maintaining the school’s positive image instead, she said.

gulem_schools_in_us

Matt Blair, a former teacher at the Horizon Academy in Dayton, alleged that there was cheating on state achievement tests. “School officials were filling in bubbles on standardized tests. They claimed that it was because students didn’t fill in circles dark enough.” Richard Neary, who taught at the same school said, “Even though standardized tests are supposed to be taken and locked in a secure place, that did not always occur, if ever.” Neary added, “All the tests would go into one room, with one Turkish administrator behind a locked door and nobody would ever see the tests again.” Board member Mary Rose Oakar noted that most of the Concept schools had very high test scores. “If would be very disturbing if there was cheating going on to get these ratings,” she said.

Neary also said he suspected the school was falsifying attendance records. “School administrators clearly lied about attendance. I can honestly tell you never once did I have a full classroom with my roster with every single student, yet they reported to you a 97% attendance rate,” he said. “I guess that’s an easy one to fudge.”

State Senator Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering), who was in attendance at the state school board meeting, asked what percentage of the teachers were Turkish, noting that she had never seen any during her visits to the schools. One of the teachers explained, “They come over on visas that say they need to teach math and science. Yet they’re teaching gym, they’re treasurers, they’re administrators, they’re guidance counselors, they’re IT. Since when did we have a lack of gym teachers in the state of Ohio?” he asked. One teacher explained, “Sometimes they hide behind — I’m being honest — in closets that are made into offices. So no, you wouldn’t have seen them. And many times when people — dignitaries — come in and things like that , they would ask one of [the American teachers] to be the hand shakers and introduce people and talk.”.

Read more at PJ Media

Crackdown in Turkey: Erdogan Criminalizes Leaks, Seeks Extradition of US Cleric Gulen

erdogan_turkey_APBy Frances Martel:

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has expanded the powers of Turkey’s secret service and granted agents immunity, while the government plans to pass a bill that would sentence journalists to ten years in prison for publishing leaks. The moves come as Erdogan cracks down on opposition forces accusing him of corruption.

The BBC reports that Erdogan’s new laws would give Turkey’s secret service, known as MIT, extensive surveillance powers to monitor opposition groups in the country. It would allow for significantly freer intelligence gathering and encourage counterintelligence operations against enemies of the government, which opposition leaders in the legislature vehemently oppose.

The law would also gives MIT agents expanded immunity powers relating specifically to MIT work that requires some skirting of the law.

The particularly controversial proposal in the bill is a proposal to allow judges to sentence journalists for up to ten years for publishing leaked information brought to them by whistleblowers, including video or audio tapes. This provision follows the release of a number of audio tapes allegedly of phone calls Erdogan has made, including a particularly controversial one posted on social media in which it appears Erdogan and his son are scheming to hide large sums of money.

The BBC notes that these laws, following attempts by Erdogan to ban social media vehicles like YouTube and Twitter, are receiving significant pushback from opposition leaders. Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party, warned that Turkey could become an “intelligence state” under the new provisions, even more so than some in the opposition argue the state currently is.

Erdogan also announced that Turkey has begun proceedings to extradite Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish citizen living in exile in Pennsylvania. Gulen’s teachings are said to have fueled the opposition into organizing against Erdogan, and the president considers him an enemy, after the government accused Gulen of inappropriate Islamic activities.

Speaking to Charlie Rose, Erdogan said that Gulen was involved in “an effort to take away some power, and these efforts involved the security forces and judiciary.” These efforts, he added, “were unacceptable to me” because they were an attempt to stage a coup. He added that “the first step that they took was against the secretary of the national intelligence agency,” implying that this agency more than any needed to be protected from the opposition.

Erdogan went on to say that he fully expected the United States to cooperate and extradite Gulen, as a threat to his government would be a threat to any government. “These elements which threaten the national security of Turkey cannot be allowed to exist in other countries because what they do to us here, they might do against their host,” Erdogan said,according to transcripts. He also relied on what he considered a positive relationship with Washington to see the extradition happen.

HOLTON: Islamic Radicals Mount Influence Operation On Louisiana Leges

“You must move in the arteries of the system without anyone noticing your existence until you reach all the power centers… until the conditions are ripe, they [the followers] must continue like this.  If they do something prematurely, the world will crush our heads, and Muslims will suffer everywhere…”

– ​​​​​​Fethullah Gulen

reception-save-the-date-april-21Later this month, organizations affiliated with the Turkish-based Gulenist Islamist movement will hold a reception lobbying Louisiana’s lawmakers.

Why would a Turkish-based Islamist movement seek to lobby lawmakers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA? For the same reason they have conducted similar influence operations in almost every state capitol in the United States.

The Gulenist Islamist movement is a 25 billion dollar empire that raises money partially through membership dues and partially through commercial activities, such as their Shariah-compliant bank, their Shariah-compliant insurance company, a media empire consisting of TV networksnews agencies, and news magazinesindustrial trade organizationsuniversities, and a network of 1300 schools in the US, Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

The Gulenist movement’s main focus in the US has been its network of schools, two of which have operated here in the state of Louisiana:

• Abramson school in New Orleans, which had its charter revoked and was shut down in the midst of public bribery and misconduct allegations.

• Kenilworth Science and Technology Academy in Baton Rouge, which was raided by the FBI late last year and is the target of a federal investigation.

By now you’re wondering what the Gulenist movement is, no doubt. The Gulenist movement is a secretive, controversial Islamist movement founded by Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Islamic scholar with a controversial history and a great many followers and admirers in both the Islamic and Western worlds. However, a close analysis of Gulen and his movement reveals what may very well be a disturbing threat, rather than the benign movement that many suppose. (Gulen fled Turkey for the US in 1998 and settled in a massive, fortified compound in rural Pennsylvania.)

Gulen preaches peace on the one hand – while on the other hand credible reports indicate that the Gulenist movement controls the secret police in Turkey, which has been key to brutally suppressing recent pro-democracy protests there. But Gulen’s primary relevance to Americans comes from something quite peculiar – namely, the fact that his movement is associated with roughly 1,200 schools in numerous countries around the globe, including approximately 135 schools here in the USA. The American Gulenist schools are mostly taxpayer-subsidized charter schools and there is much to be concerned about, both in terms of their goals and operations. And Americans – and in particular those Americans charged with credentialing these schools – know scant little about with whom they’re dealing.

In reviewing the long-form literature on Fethullah Gulen, without exception, every single book about Gulen paints him in a positive, almost saint-like light. In order to fully grasp the man and his motivations, one has to read his own work – the most troubling and revealing of which is his 1998 book Prophet Muhammad as Commander.

While much of the book details the life of Muhammad as a military commander and political leader, the opening sections of the book reveal more about the author than they reveal about Muhammad, about whom much is already known and documented. The first 37 pages of Prophet Muhammad as Commander contain revealing, troubling passages that provide a window on Fethullah Gulen’s views on Jihad and warfare.

In Prophet Muhammad as Commander, Gulen explains Muslim hostility toward non-Muslims in a similar manner that most non-Muslims will find at least very curious:

“For this reason, a Muslim’s enmity towards unbelievers is, in fact, in the form of pitying them.”

Gulen ties this pity in with the concept of “compassion.” Unbelievers who deny that Allah is the only god and that Muhammad was his prophet are thought to be committing an “injustice.” Out of “compassion” for those unbelievers and to prevent them from committing further injustice, Muslims have enmity towards them and in some cases fight them as enemies.

Jihad as a concept fits in with justice. In fact, according to Gulen (page 20), Jihad is integral to justice:

“God does not approve wrongdoing and disorder. He wills that human beings should live in peace and, accordingly, that justice should prevail amongst them. It is therefore incumbent upon those who believe in One God and worship Him faithfully to secure justice in the world. Islam calls this responsibility jihad.”

Gulen then goes on to explain the various forms of jihad, including warfare.

Read more at The Hayride

Center for American Progress Joins Gulen Cult in Turning on Turkey’s Erdogan

Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan attends a wreath-laying ceremony in AnkaraBy Daniel Greenfield:

This really is a bipartisan challenge and I don’t mean a bunch of former congressmen from both parties but people like John Bolton and Dennis Ross. The Center for American Progress has backed this which is somewhat shocking considering it had a habit of insisting that Turkey was a model Muslim democracy.

CAP is hugely influential in Obama Inc, but I still expect absolutely nothing to come of this. Obama doesn’t stand up to Muslim tyrannies. He bows before them.

Still this does suggest that maybe the left is rethinking its knee jerk support for Turkey’s Islamist tyranny. That’s a step in the right direction.

More than 80 top foreign policy figures from across the political spectrum wrote President Obama Thursday and asked him to end the U.S. government’s tacit approval of what they describe as the anti-democratic actions of Turkish Prime Minister Racep Tayyip Erdogan and his government.

“Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is increasingly undermining a central pillar of the decades-long, strategic U.S.-Turkish partnership:  Turkey’s growing democracy,” reads the letter, organized by the right-leaning Foreign Policy Initiative, the left-leaning Center for American Progress, the Bipartisan Policy Center, and Freedom House. “We are writing because of our deep dismay at this development and to urge you to make clear to the Turkish public America’s concern about Turkey’s current path. Silence will only encourage Prime Minister Erdoğan to diminish the rule of law in the country even further.”

The letter was signed by several former Obama administration officials including White House senior director Dennis Ross, State Department policy planning director Anne-Marie Slaughter, and Julianne Smith, an advisor to the Vice President. Republican signatories include Ambassador John Bolton, Sen. Norm Coleman, Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol.

According to the experts and former officials, Obama has been turning a blind eye to Erdogan’s descent into autocracy.  In their opinion, this alarming trend in Turkey has accelerated since last summer, when Turkish authorities used a heavy hand to disperse street protests and Erdogan denounced the protestors as “looters” while blaming foreign conspirators for the unrest.

Erdogan is also actively trying to cover up a huge corruption scandal which has engulfed his government since December, according to the letter. The Turkish Prime Minister has dismissed or reassigned thousands of prosecutors and police officers involved in the scandal, which ties Turkish government officials and even Erdogan’s son through shady business deals with Iran and al Qaeda.

The Erdogan govenrment has also imposed restrictions on internet freedom and freedom of the press. A new law would allow the government to block any website that has “insulting” content and Turkey still holds more journalists in prison than any other nation in the world.

Top Obama administration officials have made it very clear they have no intention of commenting, much less getting involved in Turkey’s internal turmoil. Last month, Secretary of State John Kerry met with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and promised Washington wouldn’t interfere.

“We did also talk about the importance of both of our commitments to rule of law and to democracy and to the process of both of our countries respecting each other’s political process,” said Kerry at the time. “And I think the minister understood and made it clear that the United States of America has absolutely no interest in being caught up in or engaged in or involved in the internal politics, the election process of Turkey. And we are not.”

Kerry’s statements are absolutely outrageous, but not surprising, though ridiculously hypocritical in light of Obama Inc’s interference in Egypt.

Read more at Front Page

Possible Repercussions From Turkey’s Corruption Scandal

Israelis: NATO Ally Turkey Now Hamas’ Top Funder

Turkey: Are Erdoğan’s Days Numbered?

by Harold Rhode:

It appears that the Islamic Gülenists and the secular Atatürkists — not friends in the past — have forged an alliance and are now ascendant.

Major political events have rocked the political scene in Turkey the past two weeks. Turkey’s once seemingly-invincible prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, seems in a tailspin. A few days ago, he lashed out at U.S. Ambassador Frank Ricciardone and threatened to expel him from Turkey. Erdoğan claimed the Ambassador told other Western diplomats that the “empire [Erdoğan and his associates] is about to fall.[1]

Clearly, Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s policy of “Zero Problems With Our Neighbors” — meaning the alliance with Turkey’s Sunni-ruled Arab neighbors — has failed. Turkey now has problems with almost all its neighbors. It appears that the Gülenists and the Atatürkists — not friends in the past — are now ascendant. It is unlikely that they, or whoever might take over in Turkey, would want to continue this failed approach.

 

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (L), and Fethullah Gülen. (Image source: World Economic Forum [Erdoğan] — Diyar se/WikiMedia Commons [Gülen])

Long-brewing political struggles within the ruling AK party have also surfaced. They boil down to two radically different views of Islam. In the first, Erdoğan’s faction identifies and allies itself with the [Arab] Muslim Brotherhood. This faction was strongly supportive of the ousted Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood President Muhammad Morsi, and also of Syria’s fundamentalists. In the second view, supporters of the Fethullah Gülen look down upon “Arab Islam.” To them, “real” Islam is “the Islam of the Turks – meaning the people who live in Turkey, Central Asia, and Western China.”[2] [3]

To the outsider, these differences might seem to be distinctions without differences: supporters of both views understandably want Islam to be a major part of the political order. But for Turks, these differences are seismic: the question is, do they belong to the Middle Eastern Arab and Muslim political camp, or do they belong to the wider Turkish world?

Since Erdoğan and his fellow Islamic fundamentalists took power in 2002, Gülen and his forces have been in the background, building prep-schools and propagating their version of Islam — in Turkey, in the Turkic world, and also in America. It is not surprising that when Gülen faced legal difficulties in Turkey[4] in 1999, he fled to the U.S., ostensibly for medical treatment, apparently still ongoing.[5]

On May 31, 2010, Erdoğan’s government backed and encouraged a flotilla of Turkish ships supposedly to bring needed supplies to the Gaza Strip, ruled by their fellow Muslim Brotherhood fundamentalists, Hamas. Gülen may have seen this as an opportunity indirectly publicly to chastise Erdoğan. In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal[6], Gülen argued that as Israel legitimately controlled the waters off Gaza, the flotilla should have asked for Israel’s permission to land there. Gülen did not criticize Erdoğan directly; people rarely criticize others directly in Turkey. But culturally, his choice of words indicated to Turks that he was blamed Erdoğan for creating the crisis.

Gülen has not been known to be supportive of the Jews, nor for that matter of the U.S. or the West.[7] But now in his battle is evidently to ensure that Turkish Islam defeats the so-called Arab-Muslim Brotherhood type of Islam supported by Erdoğan, the Jews and the West might well seem useful allies. As many Middle Easterners say, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” A friendship, or alliance, might be temporary, but may continue as long as required.[8]

Read more at Gatestone Institute