This blog is dedicated to the politicians who are the enablers of the Gulen Movement and their "front groups." From Gulen Schools to Gulen's Interfaith Groups, these politicians knowingly or sometimes naively have accepted campaign contributions, honors(snicker, giggles) or the famous FREE trips to Turkey. Thanks to all of you for submitting, lets put the message out to Politicians, if you sell out Americans we will vote you out.
Corrupt Politicians and Tools of the Gulen Movement
Disclaimer: if some videos are disabled this is the work of the Gulen censorship which has filed fake copyright infringement complaints to UTUBE.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Despite Maine Politicians free trip to Turkey, Gulen Charter School Application DENIED in Maine
Maine Politicians had a moment of good sense after they took the FREE trip supplied by one of the many Gulen NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations) We are told the Gulen Lobbyists are all over Capitol Hill and making the rounds at the state level.
More State wide proclaimations honoring Turkey's peace, love and tolerance (despite having the most jailed journalists in the world) can be found at http://www.turkishinvitations.weebly.com
A proposed charter school
to be based in Bangor is tied into an informal worldwide network of religious,
cultural and education institutions operated by followers of a controversial
and reclusive Turkish imam, Fethullah Gulen.
The Queen City Academy
Charter School was one of four proposed taxpayer-financed charter schools whose
applications were denied last month by the state charter school commission, but
the school intends to reapply at a future date.
Followers of Gulen, who
lives in exile on a secluded compound in the Poconos of Pennsylvania, have been
involved in starting at least 120 charter schools in 26 states, according to
investigations by The New York Times, "60 Minutes," USA Today and
other news organizations. Their schools are often top performers and have an
entirely secular curriculum, but they have drawn criticism for their lack of
transparency, their hiring and financial practices, and concerns about their
ultimate motivation, which experts say has as much to do with shaping the
evolution of Turkey as it does with educating young Americans.
Gulen is an intriguing
figure, a voice for moderate Islam, an opponent of terrorism and a champion of
the impressive cultural, educational and scientific legacy of the Ottoman
Empire, which collapsed in the aftermath of World War I and spawned the modern
states of Turkey, the Balkans and much of Central Asia and the Middle East.
But his sprawling
worldwide network of followers is also the subject of concern within the U.S.
diplomatic community; a feared and powerful force in Turkey; and the target of
investigations into the possible abuse of U.S. visa programs and the taxpayer
money that flows into the charter schools they have founded. The movement's
charter schools have been criticized in other states for their founders'
evasiveness about the philosophical and institutional links they have to what
is known in Turkey as Gulenism.
"They claim that
these charter schools are independent and have no connection to the Gulen
movement, and I said to them: 'That's baloney,' " said William Martin,
senior fellow in religion and public policy at Baker Institute of Rice
University in Texas, where Gulen followers have set up dozens of charter
Martin has followed the
movement for years, traveled to Turkey at their expense, and counts its leaders
there as friends. "I say to them: 'Look, there's nothing wrong with your
saying that you are admirers and followers of Mr. Gulen, and to say this is
what he stands for and this is what you stand for,' but they say that their
lawyers have said they shouldn't be open about it."
The central figure behind
the proposed Bangor charter school, construction company owner Murat Kilic of
Revere, Mass., deflects questions about ties to Gulen as unimportant.
"Individuals might be
inspired by him, but what their background is and what they are inspired by, I
think that's a little bit irrelevant," said Kilic, who helped found
several Gulen-linked organizations in the Bay State. "Yes, I have read a
few books of Mr. Gulen and met with him two times, but I have also met (former
President) Clinton. At the end of the day, it's how the board carries forth the
mission of the charter school that's important."
Over the past year,
Gulen's followers have been active in Maine on several fronts. A key
organization in the Gulen network -- the New York-based Council of Turkic
American Associations -- organized a subsidized nine-day trip to Turkey for three state legislators last
summer and persuaded Gov. Paul
LePage to issue an executive order declaring April 3, 2012, to be
the first annual Turkish Cultural Day in Maine.
State Sen. Joseph Brannigan, D-Portland, state Rep. Dennis
Keschl, R-Belgrade, and their spouses took the subsidized trip, along with
state Rep. Jane Knapp, R-Gorham, and Rachel Talbot Ross, president of the
NAACP's Portland branch, according to Keschl, who said CTAA officials were up
front about their ties to Gulen when he questioned them directly.
CTAA -- which is active in
Maine as the Turkish Cultural Center of Maine -- is the regional affiliate of
the Washington, D.C.-based Turkic American Alliance, the umbrella organization
for the Gulen movement in the United States.
Its membership has
included charter schools, including the Pioneer Academy Charter School in
Everett, Mass., on which the proposed Queen City Academy in Bangor is
Kilic, the lead author of
the Bangor school's application, helped found Pioneer Academy and two other
Gulen organizations, the Boston Dialogue Foundation and Ace It, which operates
as the Turkish Cultural Center in Boston, according to federal tax filings. The
proposed school's board secretary Alper Kiziltas, a doctoral student at the
University of Maine, is Maine outreach coordinator for CTAA.
Another Queen City board
member, Patricia Perane of Hanover, Mass., serves on the Pioneer school's
The real motivation of the
Gulen movement -- charter schools and all -- is to accumulate political and
financial resources to further the transformation of Turkey itself, according
to Joshua Hendrick, assistant professor of sociology and global studies at
Loyola University in Maryland and perhaps the leading U.S. scholar of Gulen. He
noted the ongoing ascent of a center-right in that country, which is
"pro-capitalist, democratic, socially conservative and believes a revival
of faith is good for national development."
that we have this rise of Islamophobia because it takes people's eyes off the
ball for a legitimate critique that has to do with teachers' concerns about
suspect hiring practices or school boards' concerns about suspect financial dealings
and governance issues," Hendrick said. "The real questions are:
'Where do you buy your desks and chairs? Who supplies your books? How are
people hired and promoted?' ... It has nothing to do with stealth jihad."
'A CULTURE OF
One of the main criticisms
of the Gulen movement is its lack of transparency, but outside of the public
spotlight, followers can be quite open about their inspiration and
Take Keschl's experience.
The Maine legislator said all of his colleagues received an invitation from
CTAA's New England regional coordinator, Eyup Sener, to take part in the
subsidized trip, with participants responsible for less than half the $3,300
estimated per-person cost. The invitation made no mention of Gulen, but
participants were to visit numerous Gulen-affiliated institutions in Turkey,
including the Zaman newspaper, Fetih University, the Kimse Yok Mu anti-poverty
organization and several Turkish charter schools run by his followers.
While considering the
invitation, Keschl, who has a military intelligence background and was posted
in southern Turkey in the late 1990s, did some research himself on receiving
the invitation and quizzed his would-be hosts on what seemed to be an obvious
connection to the Gulen movement.
"When we began
exchanging emails about the issue, that all came out," Keschl said.
"Gulen is the initiator of this and his belief in education and cultural
exchange stems way back. They were very up front about that. They didn't say
(in their invitation), 'Oh, and Gulen is the reason we're doing it,' but when
we started looking into the possibility, they didn't try to hide it."
Keschl, like Martin in
Texas, said he went to Turkey with open eyes, and was impressed with what the
movement had accomplished in Turkey. He later submitted a letter of support for
the Queen City Academy Charter School and said it would likely do a good job
But followers are not
always as up front.
In a written statement,
Sener, CTAA's regional coordinator, said his organization has "no
relationship" with the Queen City Academy, the Pioneer school or "any
other charter school."
No schools are currently
listed as CTAA members on the organization's website, but an examination of
older images of the Turkic American Alliance website captured by the Internet
Archive in 2011 lists three Northeastern private schools as CTAA members:
Connecticut's Putnam Science Academy, the Pioneer Academy of Science in New
Jersey and the Amity school in Brooklyn. It also included an organization of
which Queen City's Kilic was founding president: the Turkish Cultural Center in
Asked about the nature of
the council's relationship to Gulen, Sener wrote: "Some of the board
members and founders may or may not be inspired by his teachings. I can't
measure all the people's inspirations."
Hendrick said Gulen's
network has developed "a culture of strategic ambiguity" wherein it
avoids answering direct questions about how its component parts relate to one
"If they can maintain
ambiguity and leave people never really able to pinpoint who is what, it allows
them flexibility to adapt and adjust to local conditions," Hendrick said.
This evasiveness served Gulenists well during the 1970s and 1980s in Turkey, he
said, where they were among the many targets of the country's surveillance
apparatus. "The organizational strategies of the movement are the product
of an environment where secrecy and non-transparency are not only perfectly
rational and understandable but a neccessity."
Nonetheless, Jana LaPoint,
chairwoman of the charter commission, said her group quickly became aware of
the applicants' connections to Gulen and that it did some research into the
imam and his network. Ultimately, however, the decision to reject the school's
application last month had nothing to do with the ties to Gulen, because
"the effect on education would have been speculative," she said.
"For us it was the financials that were really very, very off," she
said, noting that the school assumed it would receive a federal grant it had
yet to apply for.
"We were absolutely
aware of the ties," she said, "and we looked into Gulen as best we
Kilic said they planned to
resubmit their application.
Born in Turkey sometime
between 1938 and 1942, Gulen has been living in the United States since 1999,
when he faced charges that he was plotting to overthrow the Turkish state.
Although he was acquitted of all charges in 2006, he has continued to live in
Pennsylvania, and has permanent resident status here.
He continues to exercise
considerable influence in Turkey. Last April, The New York Times reported from
Istanbul that his followers had "provided indispensable support to the
conservative, Islam-inspired government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip
Erdogan" and were thought to be proliferating within the country's police
and judiciary. "A culture of fear surrounding the so-called Gulenists,
however exaggerated, is so pronounced that few here will talk openly about them
on the telephone fearing that their conversations are being recorded and that
there will be reprisals."
In recent years, Gulen's
activities in the United States prompted concern among consular officers at
U.S. diplomatic posts in Ankara and Istanbul, as large numbers of visa
applicants appeared "seeking to visit a number of charter schools in the
U.S. with which consular officials were unfamiliar," according to a leaked
May 2006 cable sent by the Istanbul consulate and published by Wikileaks.
investigation and thousands of interviews, the confidential cable stated,
consular officials "complied a substantial list of organizations that seem
in some way affiliated with Gulen" including "over thirty science
academies (set up as charter schools) in the U.S." and 22 educational consultancies
and foundations in the U.S..
Visa applicants the
consular staff believed to be affiliated with Gulen's movement were
"generally evasive about the purpose of their travel to the United States
and usually denying knowing or wanting to visit Gulen when questioned
directly" though many later reversed themselves on the latter point after
"very direct questioning."
Most were unable to
provide a straightforward answer as to the source of their travel funds.
"While on the surface a benign humanitarian movement," the cable
said, "the ubiquitous evasiveness of Gulen-ist applicants -- coupled with
what appears to be a deliberate management of applicant profiles over several
years -- leaves Consular officers uneasy, an uneasiness echoed within Turkey by
those familiar with the Gulen-ists."
Gulen-linked charter schools in other states have been the subject of media
A New York Times
investigation in June 2011 estimated Gulen followers had helped start 120
charter schools in 25 states, and raised "questions about whether,
ultimately (its Texas charter schools) are using taxpayer dollars to benefit
the Gulen movement -- by giving business to Gulen followers, or through
financial arrangements with local foundations that promote Gulen teachings and
In 2012, The Philadelphia
Inquirer reported that the FBI and the U.S. departments of Labor and Education
were investigating Philadelphia's Truebright Science Academy over "whether
some Turkish charter school employees are required to kick back part of their
salaries to a Muslim movement founded by Gulen" and possible abuse of the
H1-B visa program, "which has allowed hundreds of Turkish teachers,
administrators and other staffers to work in charter schools."
Hendrick said the movement
first got involved in education by opening private schools abroad and has
gotten into trouble by applying the same hiring and contracting policies it
used in its private operations to charter schools, where taxpayer funding
brings increased public scrutiny. For instance, the practice of recruiting
teachers from Turkey has drawn fire because the average H1-B visa costs between
$600 and $1,500 to sponsor, a difficult expense to justify to taxpayers.
"Over the past
several years, if you look at a list of the top 10 school systems in the
country in terms of applying for foreign worker visas, the majority are Gulen
schools," he said. "If you do the math, this is a significant portion
of their operating budget."
ASPECT OF ISLAM'
Martin of Rice University
said the Gulen movement is a constructive force, and not just for Texas
"I'm in dialogue with
them because I think there's a really good chance that they represent the most
hopeful aspect of Islam in the world, and on the chance that that's the case, I
want to encourage that," he said.
Keschl said his
experiences with the Gulen-sponsored cultural trip to Turkey also boosted his
confidence in the good intentions of the cleric's followers in Maine.
"You can come up with
all sorts of conspiracies all over the place if you want to, but in my view
there is certainly all sorts of political things bouncing back and forth
between those who oppose Gulen and those who don't," Keschl said. "I
appreciated the ideals that were expressed to me in setting up the charter
schools and I agree that education is very important for both industrial
development and good government. ... I felt them to be very open and honest and
wanting to strengthen ties, both cultural and economic, to the U.S.
"Maybe I'm naive, but
I don't think I can easily have the wool pulled over my eyes," he said.
Staff Writer Colin Woodard
can be contacted at 791-6317 or at:
This story was updated at
5:10 p.m. Feb. 19 to correctly identify the Gulen-linked schools listed on an
Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy