A ton, as ever. I don't have time to keep up with it. In a nutshell, Turkish President Erdogan and the Gulen Movement continue to ratchet up a proxy war inside the US, in the halls of Congress, the boards of education, and now the courts. And the Gulen Movement continues to press ever forward.
First, Oklahoma. As you know, the Gulen Movement has set up a byzantine network of constantly renamed foundations around the nation, a blurry amalgamation of what are essentially shell companies for the single entity operating out of Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania.
One of these foundations, the Sky Foundation, in Oklahoma--- got itself in the press after auditors in that twister-prone state discovered what is probably just the tip of the iceberg.
According to the audit, the Sky Foundation has collected nearly $3.2 million more in lease payments for the use of the Oklahoma City-based Dove Science Academy site than it paid to purchase the property, The Oklahoman reported. However, an attorney for Dove denied the schools were overcharged....
This has been going on for a long time," state Auditor Gary Jones said. "We just looked at a couple of years."
The Gulenists have hired the former attorney general of Oklahoma, Drew Edmonson, to shepherd them through these embarrassing times. He was already a friend.
Edmondson said he took a trip to Turkey and toured Gulen schools while he was attorney general. The trip was sponsored by a Turkish-American friendship group, he said.It is widely understood that one of the basic economic incentives of these charter operators is the huge profit margins to be made in the real estate aspect of the sector. I don't know if anyone is looking at the books here in Illinois. Probably not; the laws are set up in such a way as to shield the charter sector from sunlight.
Second, California. The almost unbelievably sketchy head of the Magnolia Public (sic) Schools (actually a privately run charter network), Caprice Young, vented her spleen in the local press after encountering some resistance to the expansion of the Gulen-linked charter network she represents.
“It’s just baffling that the (prime minister) (sic) of Turkey is meddling in local schools in the United States,” said Young, a former president of the Los Angeles Unified School District’s board and the founder of the California Charter Schools Association, a powerful lobbying group with L.A. and Sacramento offices.
“It’s frustrating and a distraction,” she said....
“The president of Turkey is busy shooting down Russian planes and smuggling arms to Syria. Doesn’t he have better things to do?” Young asked rhetorically. “The members of my staff are folks who value human rights.”
Young publicly denies the obvious-even-to-the-Turkish-government link between her charter chain and the Gulen Movement. Her assertion about human rights would raise the eyebrows of thousands of people jailed in Turkey during the former collaboration between the Gulenists and the equally authoritarian President Erdogan. My question is this: why is a secretive sect leader with grand political ambitions being funded in the US via the charter school sector?
Incidentally, one of the Magnolia board members just dropped $100k on Correct The Record, a Hillary super-pac. The Gulenists glommed onto the Clintons a long time ago and it's been nothing but love and money ever since; they undoubtedly view Hillary Clinton as central to their worldwide advancement.
Here's the receipt.
It would take a series of lengthy blog posts to cover the Gulen glomming-onto of the Clintons, but it's fair to say that the basic strategy of money and flattery has found a very receptive couple in the former President and the former Secretary of State over the years. They love the photo-op, as well, these Gulenists. Twitter is chock full of posts of Clintons and glomming Gulenists.
Also in DC, the big umbrella (shell) group of the Gulen Movement, the Turkic American Alliance, just had its annual shindig in DC; it was all over Twitter. Here's somebody from the FBI addressing the group.
Here's the much glommed-onto Chuck Schumer talking about the takedown of Zaman. Schumer's thinking about the Gulen Movement appears to be propaganda-based; he probably doesn't want to think about the Zaman/Erdogan collaboration prior to 2013 and all of the people sent to prison in sham trials abetted by Zaman and prosecuted by the Gulenists themselves.
This organization, formerly operating under a different name (naturally), is sort of the umbrella shell for all the regional shells. They currently promote themselves as the voice of the Turkic peoples in the US, but truthfully they are the voice of a specific individual sect of Turkic peoples, and that most of the people in the Turkish-speaking world desire not to be affiliated with an arch-conservative, secretive theocratic sect with a demonstrably terrible record on human rights.
There has never been any confusion inside Turkey about what this group represents.
But it would be hard to deduce the Gulen connection from their own public relations pieces, like this one, for example. You'd think they speak for all the Turks and Turkish-speaking people everywhere.
Incidentally, I mentioned recently that one of the big Gulen media arms, Samanlyolu TV, has opened a studio in DC. Here's a little more on that from last year. If you want to see a list of US political people who have apparently done spots for the network, look here. Lots of familiar names; lots of well known junketeers. I see Tammy Duckworth popped in. I wonder if they tried to get her over to Baku with Danny Davis; there's no record that she's ever traveled anywhere with them.
Here's a clip of Gulen's own nephew on Samanlyolu TV; he's a big media personality on that network, in addition to being the host of the Naat nights that run concurrently with the Turkish Olympiad that our charter school students participate in.
This post is getting a little long, but there's a lot more news. I'll save it.
Just one more thing. I recently wrote about the essentially creationist nature of the "science" that Gulen's theology emphasizes. I was trying to connect the dots between a modern, western view of science and a religious view of science (as a tool of Islamic faith). Of course, others have written about this topic before, but my friend Sharon Higgins pointed me to Fethullah Gulen's own sermon on intelligent design, which is available to anyone. It's filled with the usual nutbag attacks on evolution, and it ends with the Intelligent Design thesis:
The alternative to evolution is design which necessarily leads to the concept of a transcendent and unitary power, the Designer Creator, God. Therein lies the reason for the continuing tyranny of the Darwinist theory: the fear that to acknowledge the Creator will bring down the edifice of an autonomous science, an autonomous human reason.I really don't care about anyone's religious beliefs; I'm just point out this particular sect is advancing an idea of science that we often see here in American fundamentalist communities, except from a Muslim point of view. I don't know the extent to which creationism permeates the curricula of the US charter schools, if any. But it would clearly be a main feature of the private schools around the world.
Research by Sharon Higgins