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Fethullah Gulen
Looks like they are expanding from Wandering Bishops to Wandering Imams.

Quote:Turkish Intel Chief Exposes CIA Operations via Islamic Group in Central Asia

Thursday, 6. January 2011
"In the 1990s Gulen's Madrasas sheltered 130 CIA agents" in Kyrgyzstan & Uzbekistan" Yesterday Washington Post's Jeff Stein published a very interesting but incomplete story regarding a recently published memoir by former Turkish Intelligence Chief Osman Nuri Gundes. Here is the title of his post: Islamic group is CIA front, ex-Turkish Intel chief says. For those of you familiar with my case and what I've been covering here at Boiling Frogs Post this exposé is old news' but nonetheless a vindication. As for those who are first-timers here or not that familiar with my case, this is an opportunity for a bit of background and to learn a few important points and facts that you won't be getting from this half-picture' presented by the Washington Post.

In his memoir Gundes claims that Fethullah Gulen's worldwide Islamic movement based in Pennsylvania has been providing cover for the CIA since the mid-1990s, and that in the 90s, the movement "sheltered 130 CIA agents" at its schools in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan alone.
Now, as I've done before, I am going to praise Jeff Stain, whom I know and like, for his solid journalistic talent and background and give him a few credits for actually covering this story (it is one of those thou shall not cover' areas in an agreement between the US mainstream media and the US government), before I bash the piece, its half-a.. coverage, incomplete background, and it's incredibly lenient treatment of a shady-dubious-charlatan, a major player in this operation yet a major denier when confronted by Stein; Graham Fuller. Again, as before, I am going to blame it on the unfortunate situation of having to sell your journalistic soul to earn your living.'
Let's start with Gulen. The only background provided on Gulen is the following with only one link which takes you to Gulen's marketing site:
…an influential former Turkish imam by the name of Fethullah Gulen, has 600 schools and 4 million followers around the world.
The imam left Turkey in 1998 and settled in Saylorsburg, Pa., where the movement is headquartered. According to Intelligence Online, he obtained a residence permit only in 2008 with the help of Fuller and George Fidas, whom it described as head of the agency's outreach to universities.
There is no mention of Gulen's decade-long wanted' status in Turkey (until recently), no mention of the ban on Gulen and his Madrasas in several Central Asian countries, no mention of various investigations of Gulen by other western countries, no mention of the unknown sources of his billions of dollars…As we all know except for a very few, and by that I mean a number in 100s if that, no one in this country has ever heard of this guy with his billions, with his castle in Pennsylvania, his hundreds of Madrasas, now hundreds of US charter schools, his dubious businesses….Yet, for an article as serious as this (Madrasas and mosques as CIA operation centers in Central Asia), the central figure in the story has been given one sentence; no history, no relevant facts…

Those of you who have not read our previous commentaries and updates on this topic can check them out here, here, here, and here, and below is a list of a few Gulen related facts totally (mysteriously?) absent from Washington Post piece:
-In 1999 Gulen defected to the US shortly before his scandalous speech, where he is heard calling on his supporters to "work patiently and to creep silently into the institutions in order to seize power in the state", became public. Turkish prosecutors demanded a ten-year sentence for Gülen for having "founded an organization that sought to destroy the secular apparatus of state and establish a theocratic state". Mr. Gulen has not left the United States since.
-The Netherlands has taken major steps to cut funding to all Gülen associated organizations and is investigating his operations. The Turkish Fethullah Gülen movement is really an Islamic fundamentalist group, claims Rotterdam council member Anita Fähmel (Leefbaar Rotterdam) on the basis of her own study of the Turkish movement.
-The Russian government has banned all Gülen schools and the activities of the Nur sect in Russia. Over 20 Turkish followers of Gulen were deported from Russia in 2002-2004.
-In 1999 Uzbekistan closed all Gulen's Madrasas and shortly afterward arrested eight journalists who were graduates of Gulen schools, and found them guilty of setting up an illegal religious group and of involvement in an extremist organization.
-In Turkmenistan, government authorities have placed Gulen's schools under close scrutiny and have ordered them to scrap the history of religion from curriculums.
Now, back to the story and its other major short coming:
Apparently Mr. Stein was not able to reach Gulen for comment, so he moved on to his CIA sources with long ties to Central Asia.' First he quotes his first source, Former CIA operative Robert Baer, chief of the agency's Central Asia and Caucasus operations from 1995 through 1997, who called the allegations bogus. However, Mr. Baer added: "It's possible that the CIA turned around this ship after I left."
I don't have a problem with Baer's response. Based on what I personally know, US Islamization Operations in Central Asia via Gulen started in late 1997, early 1998. That brings me to what truly set me off, Stein's second source and actually a character who is pointed to by the new memoir's author Graham Fuller:

Graham Fuller, a former CIA station chief in Kabul and author of "The Future of Political Islam," threw cold water on Gundes's allegations about Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
"I think the story of 130 CIA agents in Gulen schools in Central Asia is pretty wild," Fuller said by e-mail.
"I should hasten to add that I left CIA in 1987 nearly 25 years ago and I have absolutely no concrete personal knowledge whatsoever about this. But my instincts tell me the claim is highly improbable."
Next, Jeff Stein very gently confronts Fuller with the fact that according to the memoir and related media coverage Gulen obtained his US residence permit with his (Fuller's) help, and Fuller denies it and says that's wrong,':
"What I did do," Fuller explained, "was write a letter to the FBI in early 2006 …at a time when Gulen's enemies were pressing for his extradition to Turkey from the U.S. In the post 9/11 environment, they began spreading the word that he was a dangerous radical. In my statement to the FBI I offered my views…that I did not believe he posed a security threat of any kind to the U.S. I still believe that today, as do a large body of scholars on contemporary Islam."
First of all, there have been tens if not hundreds of articles establishing Graham Fuller as one of Gulen's official references to the court for his residency, you can view some of these here, here, here. This quote comes from Foreign Policy Journal:
Fethullah Gulen became a green card holder despite serious opposition from FBI and from Homeland Security Department. Former CIA officers (formally and informally) such as Graham Fuller and Morton Abromovitz were some of the prominent references in Gulen's green card application.
Next is the question of why. Why and in what capacity has Fuller been this active, this supportive, of Gulen? I am talking about this voluntary I wrote a letter to the FBI on Gulen' line:
…was write a letter to the FBI in early 2006 …at a time when Gulen's enemies were pressing for his extradition to Turkey from the U.S. In the post 9/11 environment, they began spreading the word that he was a dangerous radical. In my statement to the FBI I offered my views…that I did not believe he posed a security threat of any kind to the U.S. I still believe that today, as do a large body of scholars on contemporary Islam.
And Stein let that slide?! I'd quickly ask: how often do you write to the FBI on people you think have been unfairly targeted or treated by them?!'
Last but not least on Graham Fuller is my own on-the-record, more accurately, on-the-album, naming of individuals implicated (criminally) in my case, thus protected via invocation of the State Secrets Privilege:
Coinciding with the publication of the first article in a series in Britain's Sunday Times covering some of her allegations, former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds posts a gallery of 18 photos of people and three images of question marks on her website, The 21 images are divided into three groups, and the page is titled "State Secrets Privilege Gallery."… "The third group includes people who all appear to work at think tanksprimarily WINEP, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy": Graham E. FullerRAND Corporation, David MakovskyWINEP, Alan MakovskyWINEP, ? (box with question mark), ? (box with question mark), Yusuf Turani (president-in-exile, Turkestan), Professor Sabri Sayari (Georgetown, WINEP), and Mehmet Eymur (former head of the Turkish intelligence agency MIT).
I am going to leave you with the following excerpts from my interview with Phil Giraldi for the Am Con Magazine in 2009, on Gulen, CIA Central Asia operations & the use of Islam and Mujahideen there-1997-2001, [All emphasis mine]:
GIRALDI: You also have information on al-Qaeda, specifically al-Qaeda in Central Asia and Bosnia. You were privy to conversations that suggested the CIA was supporting al-Qaeda in central Asia and the Balkans, training people to get money, get weapons, and this contact continued until 9/11…
EDMONDS: I don't know if it was CIA. There were certain forces in the U.S. government who worked with the Turkish paramilitary groups, including Abdullah Çatli's group, Fethullah Gülen.
GIRALDI: Well, that could be either Joint Special Operations Command or CIA.
EDMONDS: Maybe in a lot of cases when they said State Department, they meant CIA?
GIRALDI: When they said State Department, they probably meant CIA.
EDMONDS: Okay. So these conversations, between 1997 and 2001, had to do with a Central Asia operation that involved bin Laden. Not once did anybody use the word "al-Qaeda." It was always "mujahideen," always "bin Laden" and, in fact, not "bin Laden" but "bin Ladens" plural. There were several bin Ladens who were going on private jets to Azerbaijan and Tajikistan. The Turkish ambassador in Azerbaijan worked with them.
There were bin Ladens, with the help of Pakistanis or Saudis, under our management. Marc Grossman was leading it, 100 percent, bringing people from East Turkestan into Kyrgyzstan, from Kyrgyzstan to Azerbaijan, from Azerbaijan some of them were being channeled to Chechnya, some of them were being channeled to Bosnia. From Turkey, they were putting all these bin Ladens on NATO planes. People and weapons went one way, drugs came back.
GIRALDI: Was the U.S. government aware of this circular deal?
EDMONDS: 100 percent. A lot of the drugs were going to Belgium on NATO planes. After that, they went to the UK, and a lot came to the U.S. via military planes to distribution centers in Chicago and Paterson, New Jersey. Turkish diplomats who would never be searched were coming with suitcases of heroin.

# # # #

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"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.

The Sanitized Gulen Coverage Continues…

Wednesday, 23. June 2010
…and the Real Dots Remain Unconnected In my last update I covered the recent multi-agenda driven, censored and sanitized media coverage of the Gulen movement. He seems to be back in the news (mainly Turkish media) again with the Flotilla Incident, and again, with unconnected dots, and unmentioned points and facts. Interestingly, the Turkish mainstream media coverage appears to be less sanitized.
[Image: GulenIsrael.jpg]Let's start with a recent piece published by the Wall Street Journal, written by someone we happen to know and like, Joe Lauria. Joe is one of the few, if not only, journalists who was granted access to Gulen for a direct interview (of course via translator(s) since Gulen doesn't speak a single word of English, and let's not forget his literacy level does not exceed the 5[SUP]th[/SUP] grade!). As youll see below, the fluff article reads like one of Gulen's bios available on thousands of websites. Knowing Lauria, and his style, it's not difficult to guess why: WSJ didn't have enough space? WSJ wanted to limit the piece to a few fluff points related to the current headlines on Flotilla? WSJ doesn't consider Gulen's ties to CIA's Graham Fuller, or Israel's Abramowitz note or news worthy?…Well, okay, you get my point, right?! I don't have any real' inside information on what went on with the WSJ and it's editors, but I think my guess is as good as any of my informed savvy readers [Image: icon_smile.gif] Here is the article and a few excerpts:
SAYLORSBURG, Pa.Imam Fethullah Gülen, a controversial and reclusive U.S. resident who is considered Turkey's most influential religious leader, criticized a Turkish-led flotilla for trying to deliver aid without Israel's consent.
Mr. Gülen said organizers' failure to seek accord with Israel before attempting to deliver aid "is a sign of defying authority, and will not lead to fruitful matters."
Mr. Gülen's views and influence within Turkey are under growing scrutiny now, as factions within the country battle to remold a democracy that is a key U.S. ally in the Middle East. The struggle, as many observers characterize it, pits the country's old-guard secularist and military establishment against Islamist-leaning government workers and ruling politicians who say they seek a more democratic and religiously tolerant Turkey. Mr. Gülen inspires a swath of the latter camp, though the extent of his reach remains hotly disputed.
Mr. Gülen has long cut a baffling figure, as critics and adherents have sparred over the nature of his influence in Turkey and the extent of his reach. Leading a visitor on Wednesday past his front corridoradorned with a map of Turkey, a verse from the Quran and a photograph of a Turkish F-16 jet over the Bosphorushe portrayed himself an apolitical teacher. "I do not consider myself someone who has followers," he said.
Okay, the rest is history; literally his bio. As you can see, not a word on the real stuff.
On the other hand, the Turkish press was not as audacious, and they couldn't resist mentioning a few noteworthy points such as:
How Gulen has had the backing of the US-Israel Lobby
Lauria's interview included the Ergenekon' topic & Sibel Edmonds' infamous case
Then, there is this incredibly confused article at Asia Times on Gulen and AKP based on the Flotilla. I read the piece three times, trying to understand what it was trying to convey: simply a focus-less, aimless, pointless, jumble of facts, semi-facts and confused lines. You know I'm a big fan of Asia Times, do imagine my surprise…
Here is a rather bad opening, intended to be attention-grabbing and dramatic, but ending up as a cheesy attempt with worse to follow:
We've been had, boys and girls: the international community, the world press, Israeli intelligence, the United Nations, the lot of us. The existential drama off the Gaza coast turns out to be a Turkish farce, the kind of low comedy that in 1782 Wolfgang Mozart set to music in the opera The Abduction from the Seraglio, with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan playing the buffo-villain Osmin and Turkish self-exiled preacher and author Fethullah Gulen as the wise Pasha Selim.
Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania
in the United States, was silent as a jinn in a bottle about politics until last Friday, when he told the Wall Street Journal that the Free Gaza flotilla's attempt to run the Israeli blockage of Gaza "is a sign of defying authority, and will not lead to fruitful matters".
For the secretive Gulen to criticize the Turkish government in the midst of its public rage against Israel is an imam-bites-dog story. Gulen appears to have positioned himself as a mediator with Israel. Turkey does not want to end its longstanding relationship with Israel; it wants Israel to become a Turkish vassal-state in emulation of the old Ottoman model.
The star of the comedy, at least for the Turkish media, is Gulen. The 78-year-old imam has lived in self-imposed exile for two decades, due to charges by Turkish prosecutors that he led a conspiracy to subvert the secular state. He presides over Turkey's largest religious movement, commanding the loyalty of two-thirds of the Turkish police, according to some reports. His movement a transnational civic society movement inspired by Gulen's teachings also controls a network of elite schools that educate a tenth of the high school students in the Turkic world from Baku to Kyrgyzstan. And it reportedly controls businesses with tens of billions of dollars in assets.
His movement has been expelled from the Russian Federation and his followers arrested in Uzbekistan by local authorities who believe his goal is a pan-Turkic union from the Bosporus to China's western Xinjiang province ("East Turkestan" to Gulen's movement).
I am not going to waste more space for this piece, but please take a look at it and tell me what this hodgepodge is trying to convey; a convoluted, self-interpreted, and highly confused snap shot of Turkish Ottoman History, AKP, Gulen Movement, Flotilla, US Foreign Policy, all in one garbled article…and since I included the awfully cheesy intro, I must finish with this equally corny finale:
Gulen, in short, is a shaman, a relic of pre-history preserved in the cultural amber of eastern Anatolia. Kemalism was sterile, brutal, secular and rational; the "moderate Islam" of Gulen is magical, a mystic's vision of Ottoman restoration and a pan-Turkic caliphate.
The Erdogan government crafted the Mavi Marmara affair as a piece of theater, preparing the deus ex machina (god from the machine) entrance of Gulen himself, more Pagliaccio than Apollo, to be sure. The trouble is that the Turkish Islamists live in a world of magical realism in which theater and reality, human and jinn, desire and achievement blend into a mystical blur. Gulen explains in his The Essentials of the Islamic Faith that Allah created the jinn out of fire. And that is what the apologists for Turkish Islamism are playing with.
[Image: ABR.jpg][Image: fuller.jpg]No one is mentioning why Gulen has been strongly backed by Israel, or, why he is such a loyal defender and supporter of Israel, especially the US-Israel lobby. No one is daring to mention one of his top backers in the US, another butler of Israel, Mort Abramowitz, or and how Abramowitz vouched for Gulen during his deportation hearing. No one is talking about Gulen's other CIA bodyguard, Graham Fuller. No real' questions on Gulen's real' sources of multibillion dollar funding…No emphasis on Gulen's real role for the real US decision-makers' use, and their strategy for Central Asia since 1997…
Some of these reporters have their hands tied by their MSM editors. Some of the semi- independent journalists have fallen for the creators of the smoke and mirrors. And others are simply guided by ignorance and utter dumbness emboldened by their arrogance. Well, they are just the latest being sold and fed garbage when it comes to Gulen.
# # # #
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
[TD="class: postHeader, colspan: 2"]

Teaching as CIA CoverGülen Charter Schools, Dan Burton, and State Secrets

[TD] By: Doug Martin Saturday May 5, 2012 5:07 pm[/TD]

The following continues Doug Martin's look into the Gülen charter school movement, which began with Islam and the Free Market of Privatized Education: "Friending" the Gülen Charter Schools. It first appeared at Common Errant.
Besides noting U.S. charter school connections to the Fethullah Gülen Movement during her testimony in the Schmidt v. Krikorian case in Ohio on August 8, 2009,* former FBI language specialist-turned whistleblower Sibel Edmondsan Iranian raised in Turkey before becoming a U.S. citizenalleges a 1990s U.S./ Gülen al-Qaeda operation in Central Asian and a bribery scheme involving Indiana's own U.S. House member Dan Burton.
Edmonds testified in candidate David Krikorian's defense case before the Ohio Election Commission when Rep. Jean Schmidt, an Ohio Republican, filed charges against him for claiming, during a 2008 campaign bid, that she accepted money illegally from people with Turkey interests.
Edmonds' deposition held many bombshells, since she had been translating wiretap conversations between those associated with the Turkish lobby.
It seems Gülen and the U.S. State Department, from 1997 to 2001, had been training al-Qaeda in Central Asian, with the help of the Turkish military, Pakistani ISI, and Azerbaijan officials (96), Edmonds says in response to questions from Krikorian's attorney, Dan Marino. In a subsequent interview with retired CIA-counter-terrorism specialist Phil Giraldi (who believes her story), Edmonds details Gülen /U.S training missions and Turkish drug-smuggling into Chicago and Paterson, New Jersey, two hot-beds of the Gülen Movement, each containing Fethullah's followers' charter schools:
GIRALDI: You also have information on al-Qaeda, specifically al-Qaeda in Central Asia and Bosnia. You were privy to conversations that suggested the CIA was supporting al-Qaeda in central Asia and the Balkans, training people to get money, get weapons, and this contact continued until 9/11…
EDMONDS: I don't know if it was CIA. There were certain forces in the U.S. government who worked with the Turkish paramilitary groups, including Abdullah Çatli's group, Fethullah Gülen.
GIRALDI: Well, that could be either Joint Special Operations Command or CIA.
EDMONDS: Maybe in a lot of cases when they said State Department, they meant CIA?
GIRALDI: When they said State Department, they probably meant CIA.
EDMONDS: Okay. So these conversations, between 1997 and 2001, had to do with a Central Asia operation that involved bin Laden. Not once did anybody use the word "al-Qaeda." It was always "mujahideen," always "bin Laden" and, in fact, not "bin Laden" but "bin Ladens" plural. There were several bin Ladens who were going on private jets to Azerbaijan and Tajikistan. The Turkish ambassador in Azerbaijan worked with them.
There were bin Ladens, with the help of Pakistanis or Saudis, under our management. Marc Grossman [Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs at the time and former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey] was leading it, 100 percent, bringing people from East Turkestan into Kyrgyzstan, from Kyrgyzstan to Azerbaijan, from Azerbaijan some of them were being channeled to Chechnya, some of them were being channeled to Bosnia. From Turkey, they were putting all these bin Ladens on NATO planes. People and weapons went one way, drugs came back.
GIRALDI: Was the U.S. government aware of this circular deal?
EDMONDS: 100 percent. A lot of the drugs were going to Belgium on NATO planes. After that, they went to the UK, and a lot came to the U.S. via military planes to distribution centers in Chicago and Paterson, New Jersey. Turkish diplomats who would never be searched were coming with suitcases of heroin.

Edmonds, before this interview took place, had been fired from the FBI in 2002 for revealing to higher ups security breaches and Turkish espionage at the bureau's language division. This Turkish-American conspiracy included, as well, paying off U.S. officials to leak secrets and allow nuclear weapons technology to be sold on the Pakistani, Iranian, and North Korean black markets. Besides Dan Burton, others she implements include Illinois Republican Dennis Hastert, Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, and Marc Grossman, Bush's Deputy Undersecretary of State.
Edmonds has been gagged under a "state secrets privilege" order by the Bush Administration's attorney general, John Ashcroft, from disclosing detailed information to the public, but her finger-pointing has been backed up or deemed credible by many, including the government's own Department of Justice's Inspector General and Senators Patrick Leahy and Chuck Grassley. In fact, former Turkish Intelligence Chief Osman Nuri Gundes, in a recent memoir, writes that Gülen, in his Central Asia charter schools in the mid-1990s, gave cover to over 130 CIA agents posing as teachers, an irony given that today Turkish men on H-1B visas pose as educators in the US charter schools run by Gülen followers.
Why was the CIA interested in Central Asia? Oil and gas, according to Edmonds.
It turns out, one of the Turkish groups being wiretapped was the American Turkish Council (ATC). When Edmonds told higher-ups that an ATC spy was working as a translator in the FBI and attempting to conceal ATC's illegal activity, Edmonds was fired. The spy, Jan Dickerson, Edmonds told officials, had tried to buy her out. Dickerson's husband was an Air Force official.
As part of the Turkish lobby, the ATC is a big-player in D.C. Its board is made up of and funded by U.S. weapons contractors and energy companies (including Imagine Schools' Dennis Bakke's former company AES Energy, Eli Lilly, and Lockheed Martin). It is believed that Valerie Plame Wilson's outing, among other things, was a result of her investigation into the ATC. At the time of the conspiracy, Brent Scowcroft, a former national security adviser, was ATC's chair. Lincoln McCurdy, who we will soon meet, was ATC's CEO.
In an interview with Electric Politics, Edmonds also discusses the Association of Turkish Americans and its nationwide interfaith and business chapters, which have ties to the Gülen charter schools. Citizens Against Special Interest Lobbying in Public Schools (C.A.S.I.L.I.P.S) has traced Gülen-affiliated Magnolia Science Academy's Dean Sumer, in California, to the Association of Turkish Americans.
Dan Burton (R, IN): "If I lived in Turkey and if I were a Turk, I would want to get those terrorists who cross the border to blow up my family, kill my kids."
Due to the Ashcroft "gag-order," Edmonds has not been able to say exactly what illegal activity Burton was enmeshed in with the Turkish lobby. Supposedly, the crimes occurred from 1997 to 2002 (page 159 PDF), the same time-span in which the CIA was allegedly helping Gülen train al-Qaeda. Referring to a picture gallery she set up online exposing those entangled in the scandal, Edmonds, in her Ohio deposition, says this concerning Burton:
A. I can't discuss the details of those individuals not legal activities in the United States, but those pictures, his and others, are there because State Secrets Privilege was mainly involved to cover up those individuals illegal, extremely illegal activities against the United States citizens who were involved in operations that were, again, against order foreign government and foreign entities against the United States'interests.
Q. And Dan Burton is a representative, member of Congress from Indiana; is that correct? Is that the right place?
A. I believe he is. (46-47)

Gülen's name does not surface alongside Burton's during the testimony, but as I noted in a previous article, Burton has accepted campaign donations from many individuals tied to Gülen charter schools in Indiana. Lyndsey Eksili, wife of main Indiana Gülen leader Bilal, has given Burton $1000, and Hasan Yerdelen, treasurer for the American Turkish Association of Indiana, donated $1,000 in 2010, as well. A former Holy Dove official, Yerdelen's new group belongs to the Assembly of Turkish-American Associations (ATAA), also mentioned by Edmonds.
Burton has been getting money from the Turkish PAC, too, which has ties to the American Turkish Council implemented in the Edmonds case. In an article about a recent D.C. gala party, the Gülen-influenced Today's Zaman details the plans of the TC-USA PAC. The TC-USA PAC goes by many names. Incorporated out of Houston, Texas, it sometimes is called the Turkish Coalition PAC, the Turkish American Political Action Committee, and the Turkish Coalition USA PAC. Until May 2008, its name was the Turkish PAC Turkish American Heritage Political Action Committee. Federal Election Commission records show Burton has recently gotten $11,000 from this group.
The Turkish Coalition USA PAC is managed by the Turkish Coalition of America's Lincoln McCurdy, a Hanover College, Indiana, graduate and former U.S. diplomat in Istanbul, who was ATC's CEO from 1998 to 2004, during the alleged Burton bribery scandal. McCurdy's name appears as the treasurer of the PAC in FEC documents. The Turkish Coalition of America was founded with money from Hittite Microwave head Yalcin Ayasli, which since 2004, according to the Sunlight Foundation, has received $30 million in contracts from the U.S. government. McCurdy is no stranger to Dan Burton. Burton visited Turkey with McCurdy and the Turkish Coalition of America. Plus, in a 2009 talk at the Gülen Institute Congressional Dinner, Burton praised how Dick Lugar was to be a future keynote speaker at the Holy Dove Foundation, and how he himself is treated like a "king" when he visits Turkey.
In the summer of 2010, Burton even hired Baran Canseverto go on fact-finding missions at congressional hearings. Cansever was a former American Turkish Council intern in 2009, where he helped plan ATC-funded trips for congressional staffers and worked with the ATC "Chairman during Energy and Defense sessions at the Annual Conference on U.S./Turkish Relations." As I and many others have noted, those associated with the Gülen-led charter schools use trips to Turkey to dupe legislators across the country into buying into the Gülen story of peace and love.
In November of last year, Burton and Dick Lugar were hosts at a Turkish American Federation of the Midwest-sponsored event which also included the American Turkish Council's James Holmes as speaker, British Petroleum's Greg Saunders, and Fatih Baltaci, CEO of Enerco Energy, along with many government officials. The Turkish American Federation of the Midwest is a local branch of the Gülen-led Assembly of Turkic American Federations (ATAF); the Niagara Foundation, with ties to leaders of the Indiana Gülen charter school movement, is an arm of the Turkish American Federation of the Midwest.
Although Edmonds does not mention Lugar in the bribery scandal, his appearance at the ATAF's gala party held at the Willard InterContinental Washington in May 2010 did not go unnoticed to Today's Zaman, which noted: "It was no coincidence that Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) talked about the Holy Dove Foundation's impressive interfaith and ethnic outreach efforts in Indianapolis." Holy Dove, to refresh your memory, is one of the main Gülen groups behind the Indiana charter schools. Last month, Lugar, in fact, received over $9,200 in campaign donations from Indiana Gülenists Mehmet Dundar, Oznur Dundar, Ali Kemal Durhan, and Zehra Durhan at the Indiana Math and Science Academy.
Last year, the FBI began investigating the Gülen charter schools for visa fraud, so it will be interesting to see what, if anything, is done about Gülen's U.S. campaign to profit his movement with U.S. taxpayers' dollars. In Indiana, D.C. and across America, don't expect legislators to have the interest/and or safety of the public or public schools in mind anytime soon, though. Despite Barton retiring (becoming a Turkish lobbyist?) and Lugar fighting re-election with another tea-party Republican, the Gülen empire in Indiana and around the world will continue. According to a 2010 piece in the Hurriyet Daily News, Gülen himself has called on all 180 of his organizations to be put under the Assembly of Turkic American Federations (ATAF) umbrella. Gülen is everywhere. When asked if Fethullah Gülen was a threat to United States interests, Edmonds, in her Ohio testimony said, "One hundred percent, absolutely." Discussing the Gülen charter schools, Sibel had this back-and-forth with Krikorian's attorney, Dan Marino:
Q. Did you say that Gulan had set up schools in the United States as well?
A. Yes.
Q. Are some of those in Cincinnati, if you know?
A. I'm not sure. I know of some in Texas. I know one in Virginia, but I don't know. They are multiplying, and they're spreading rapidly. (97-99)

They are multiplying, indeed, and more of them are being proposed in Burton's own backyard.
* Edmonds' Gülen testimony segment has been posted on YouTube. Video tapes of Edmonds' whole deposition are available on Brad's Blog. Edmonds' own Boiling Frogs blog is well-worth a close read.
** Edmonds' story has been mentioned on 60 Minutes and made into a documentary entitled Kill the Messenger. In January, a 60 Minutes episode on the U.S. Gülen charter schools was also filmed. No word yet on when or if it will air.
For Further Reading on the banal corruption of Dan Burton, see:
"The Hypocrisy of Dan Burton."
"Two Year Sentence for Man Accused in Pakistan Spy Plot"
For more on Gülen charter schools, see Charter School Scandals, Charter School Watchdog, and Citizens Against Special Interest Lobbying in Public Schools (C.A.S.I.L.I.P.S).
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

"Erdogan's AKP, Fethullah Gülen's opium, and the Kurdish Question" - 15 March 2005 / by Aland Mizell
Recently in a Wall Street Journal article, senior journalist Robert L. Pollock emphasized an important point regarding Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Erdogan's religious Muslim party and its basic view of the West. Erdogan cultivated a view of the West that polarized Turkey and non-Islamic nations as well as those that supported Kurdish autonomy.
According to Pollock, during the 2002 elections, the relationship with America changed, "The mainstream parties that had championed Turkish-American ties self-destructed, leaving a vacuum," that was filled by "the subtle yet insidious Islamism of the Justice and Development (AK) Party" (2005). In his view, under Erdogan's current policies Turkey is again becoming "the sick man of Europe" rather than a model of a democratic, secular government. Its most telling symptom is its abandonment of a friendship with the United States in favor of decidedly "an extreme combination of America and Jew-hatred" (Pollack 2005).
Erdogan deeply desires Turkey to maintain its territorial integrity and the Kurds to assimilate and thereby to avoid independence. To accomplish this end, Erdogan has befriended the once distanced Syria and Iran, adopted an anti-Israeli stance, and shunned the once friendly America. By collaborating with potential allies of the Kurds, Erdogan can prevent Kurds from gaining financial dominance through the oil and water resources. Influenced by the ideology and strategies of Fethullah Gülen, an Islamic scholar with a global network of excellent schools who uses religion as the opium for the masses, Erdogan continues the policies of subjugating the Kurds. Gülen addicts them to his Turkish [fundamentalist] Islam to keep them silent and then uses this opiate of ideology to keep them following him as the mehdi or century's holy man. Similarly, Erdogan drugs the citizenry with his opium of symbolic democratic initiatives while radically advancing Islamism in Turkey through his domestic and foreign policy.
In 2000, Claude Lorieux described the battle for Turkey in the French newspaper Le Figaro, under the subtitle "The Army of Ankara against Islamists," indicating that secularists fought against fundamentalists who interfered with justice, as in the case of Fethullah Gülen (Lorieux 2002). Charged with conspiring to overthrow the secular state, Gülen had for years trained his students, at least those of Turkish, not Kurdish lineage, to gain control of the key positions in the government and in other institutions.
?ric Biegala noted in the same newspaper in 2002, that the AKP (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi) is moving closer to fundamentalism, the government has acquiesced to the demands of Islamists who are abolishing Ataturk's principles of secularism, and the schools of Fethullah Gülen are windows into modern Turkey with their Islamization of the youth and preparation for leaders (Biegala 2002). While petitioning for accession into the European Union (EU), a "re-Islamized Turkey," Biegala claims, will bring about an "unforgettable gullibility" for the EU in a continent with a reputation for Fascism and Nazism. Advocating a secular Turkey with, for example, freedom of clothing as in the European universities, and a respect for human rights, the newspaper denounced an Islam that would come to power under the mask of democracy while violating human rights, as readers would surely think of in the case of the Kurds. A probing of Erdogans influential cadre, most of them affiliated with Fethullah Gülen's movement, would reveal the mastermind behind the Prime Minister's thinking and his mentor's masterwork.
Fethullah, a shrewd leader, does not directly affiliate himself with politics but instead shapes policies behind the scenes and counsels his followers behind closed doors about ways to implement his directives. This is not the first time Fethullah Gülen has influenced politicians. For example, the former president of Turkey Turgut Ozal was also one of his followers, but not until Ozal's death did any one know that he had studied under Gülen's ideology. During his administration, the military discharged many of Fethullah's students. Gülen wanted Ozal to prevent these dismissals, but Ozal could not do more at that time because of the military's power.
In 1993, Fethullah Gülen sent Ozal to Central Asia to legitimize his movement there, particularly when, for example, Islam Karimov was becoming apprehensive of fundamentalists. On his trip to Central Asia, he spent most of his time in Gülen's schools, and after his return to Turkey the president passed away, when it was revealed that he was a sakird or student of the Qur'an. Gülen ordered his supporters to participate in a mass ceremony for Ozal to demonstrate that a Muslim leader was beloved by his fellow countrymen. Thus, his custom of secretly infiltrating high levels of the government and the military with his students is long-standing.
During the soft coup in 1980, Fethullah distanced himself from the National Salvation Party's leader Necmedin Erbakan. After its disintegration, Erbakan, however, followed with the Welfare Party and as its leader was elected Turkey's first Islamist prime minister in 1995. Fearing that the party was engaging in fundamentalist activity and thereby violating the Constitutions secular principles, the Constitutional Court banned the Welfare Party. In 1999 the reincarnated Virtue Party gained twenty percent of the seats in Parliament. At that time Erdogan was Erbakan's right hand, but Fethullah ordered his followers to vote for leftists and rightist to balance both groups. In so doing he wanted the leftist party to protect him from being accused of being a fundamentalist and of having a secret agenda to overthrow the secular government. In 1999, as a member of the pro-religious Virtue Party (FP), however, Erdogan was charged with "openly inciting public enmity and hatred by pointing out racial and social differences" and sentenced to a ten-month prison term for quoting a poem, "The mosques are our barracks, the minarets our bayonets, the domes our helmets and the believers our soldiers."
So, the question that scholars should ask Fethullah is that if Erdogan did not have even a party when he -- the former mayor of Istanbul -- was released from prison, how did he so quickly become Prime Minister? The answer lies in Fethullah's power to direct his followers to vote for Erdogan and thereby make him the majority party and in such a manner as to become a noteworthy comparison to Ozal's party the Fethullahci.
At a briefing in 1999, a high level official in the Turkish government told Prime Minister Ecevit that "Gülen's followers will try to get control of the state," explaining, "Fethullah Gulen tries to be recognized officially with his goodwill' contacts to high rank politicians. Gülen's aim is to bring an alternative to the secular system." (Briefing 1999). Ecevit refused to accept the warning. Today Erdogan's clandestine strategies mimic his mentor's goal to establish a neo-Ottoman Turkey with the aid of Islamic neighbors.
[Said Nursi]
When Gülen's name is mentioned, the first thing that comes to the mind of his students is Said Nursi, known by the Kurds known as Saidi Keri. But Said Nursi is a vehicle used to recruit Muslim people to his community, his cemaat. His leaders use Said Nursi as a mask. First his students read and study the Risale-i-Nur, Said Nursi's books, but then little by little they introduce the students to Fethullah Gülen, an idol replacing Said Nursi in reverence and in commitment to his writings. It is true that Mr. Gülen does have a depth of knowledge about Islam but also that he uses it to his advantage. When the question of the Kurds comes on the table, Fethullah Gülen sends a mixed message. He uses religion as opium for the masses to oppress the Kurdish people. His rhetoric claims Islam does not sanction an inferior or a superior status. An individual is deemed superior only if he is close to God. It is true that the Qur'an says that God created all nations and tribes, and therefore no individuals or nations are to be favored because of their wealth, power, or race, but only because of their faith and piety (Qur'an 49:13).
By this criterion, only infidels are inferior. Muhammad said, "An Arab is not better than a non-Arab and a non-Arab is not better than an Arab, and a red (i.e. white tinged with red) person is not better than a black person and a black person is not better than a red person, except in piety." Writing in an article entitled "A Comparative Approach Islam and Democracy, Gülen pronounces, "The Prophet says that all people are as equal as the teeth of a comb. Islam does not discriminate based on race, color, age, nationality, or physical traits. The Prophet declared: You are all from Adam, and Adam is from earth. O servants of God, be brothers [and sisters].' Those who are born earlier, have more wealth and power than others, or belong to certain families or ethnic groups have no inherent right to rule others" (Gülen 2001). However, Fethullah goes further to claim that Islam can be best represented only by the Turks, thus claiming the superiority of the Turks. When a Kurd says, "I am a Kurd and a Muslim," then it seems he is insulting his hearer. The Kurd will be chastised for establishing his identity in terms of his ethnicity and be challenged to think of himself as a Muslim only, united with his Islamic brotherhood as the Qur'an requires. If he claims a shared allegiance to his ethnic heritage, he will be asked, "Why are you prejudiced?" and be told, "We are all brothers," a tranquilizer numbing his followers into submission. Yet, this same examiner will never stand for the rights of this "brother." Instead, as always, Kurds will be oppressed while the religious demagogies keep silent with the same tactics. When it comes to the Kurdish question, when it comes to many questions about the Kurds, the examiner will note that they are caught in the fire and continue to burn illiteracy is high, the mortality rate is high, and unemployment is high. Many Kurds are living with their cattle in the winter because they cannot afford to buy enough coal or wood to provide heat for their children during the freezing winter. When the military served as the major police force in that impoverished region, they raped many Kurdish women and killed children and older people as well. These advocates of homogeneity and opponents of racism tried to turn attention to their Muslim brotherhood, pointing to the injustice in Chechnya, Bosnia, Palestine, Afghanistan, and Algeria.
When in early 1990 the Soviet tanks stormed Azerbaijanis in Baku, Fethullah cried and was hospitalized because of his heartache. But when Turkish gendarmes burned more than 5000 thousands villages and imprisoned many Kurds who happened to be at the wrong place under the terrorist campaign, he shed no tears. How many people are still missing? How many mothers have not heard from their sons? Nobody knows their fate. Why did Gülen never become hospitalized for his Kurdish Muslim brothers? The sad thing is that many young Kurds, students, and businessmen accept this opium and become addicted to it. His followers claim that they do God's will and that God requires them to give to their Muslim brother, and indeed the Qur'an advocates these principles. Does God, however, forbid speaking the Kurdish language and enjoying the culture? Is God on Turkey's side? God's requirement can be a sin if it is based on this wrong assumption. Fethullah cried when Bosnia's Muslims were slaughtered by Serbian butchers, yet when a twelve-year old Kurdish boy was slaughtered by a Turkish death squad, was Fethullah hospitalized? Did he get heartaches for those cruel bullets that killed Ugur? No, he did not because this twelve-year old Ugur Kaymaz was deemed a terrorist, according to their Turkish nationalistic definition. How can the Greek Orthodox devotees open Gülen's schools in Cyprus, but Kurds cannot have their own education? Why did Gülen open thousands of schools abroad to teach the native language and Turkish, while the Kurds could not learn their language in his and their own country? More than thirty million Kurds demand their minority rights because even though they may live in Turkey, they are not of Turkish origin.
Gülen tries to assimilate Kurds by emphasizing the Ottoman ideology in his school, causing many Kurds to see themselves as Osmanli rather than as Selahattin Kurdi. Many Muslims know Saladin as an Islamic hero for having recaptured Jerusalem from the Crusaders. Saladin was Kurdish by heritage, and during most of his career he used primarily Kurdish officials as his closest partners, but he is renowned for being Islamic.
Today Christians have begun to translate the Bible into the Kurdish language to ensure that those who want to explore its message can understand the principles. To teach them, these followers of Jesus continue to respect the Kurd's culture and identity without humiliating them or denying their language. By contrast, Mr. Gülen privileges Turkish identity over Islamic religion. Gülen Turkifies Islam in a nationalistic homogeneity.
His support of the Grey Wolves, a fascist-leaning utlra-nationalist organization in Turkey dating back to the 1960s, demonstrates the degree of his nationalism. As an unofficial branch of The Milliyetci Hareket Partisi (MHP) that argued for a military solution to the Kurdish problem, The Grey Wolves, mostly drawn from Turkey's National Intelligence Organization's (MIT) secret service, killed hundreds of Kurds. Despite their militant approach to the Kurdistan Workers' Party's (PKK) insurgency and to their opposition to Turkey's granting any concessions to the Kurds, Fethullah attended the funeral of the leader Alparslan Turkes demonstrating support for the Kurdish opposition. Very telling, however, is Gülen's sloganand his goalderived from the MHP banner: "One Turkish world, from the Adriatic Sea until the Chinese Wall," a motto constantly used by the government's parties and other parties in conformity with the system to establish a greater Turkish Muslim world and to oppress the Kurdish people. With a Turkish nationalism called Turanism, the Grey Wolves' ideology does not allow any national or personal rights to the Kurds, Armenians, Laz, Arabs, or Syrians in Turkey.
While neither Erdogan nor Gülen claims membership, they share the goal of expansionism of Turkish ideology at the expense of all others, and in the case of the later two, it is that of fundamentalist Islam. This approach of ignoring the rights of ethnic minorities is wrong. Now, thanks to the United States and to President Bush's administration, Saddam Hussein, arguably one of the world's most evil people, is imprisoned, and the Kurds are freed from his wrath. Mr. Gülen is sad that Saddam has been removed, but the Kurds are free and will no longer be assimilated because they are studying and trying to rediscover their identity.
Since the collapse of the Baathist regime, Mr. Gülen and his media conglomerate are advocating the rights of 300 or 400 thousand Turkmen in Northern Iraq. In what forum was he voicing protest against the treatment of the Turkmen before Saddam was removed? Did the Turkmen not live there for a long time under the Saddam's regime? Now he publishes articles on his web page accusing the United States of doing wrong in removing Saddam from his dictatorship? He fears that the Kurds will have access to oil and water resources and consequently will have power in the region, the great fear of the AKP and of Fethullah; as a result, the Kurds will refuse the systematic ideology, the opium.
It is critical to compare the strategies of Gülen with that of his protégée Erdogan in tracking Turkey's shift in foreign policy and in recognizing the opium effect of using religion to advance his agenda. In reading about Erdogan's reforms, a casual observer would note a reinforcement of secularism and an effort to modernize Turkey as it allies itself, at least on the surface, with the European Union, but a careful scholar would discover a concerted effort to return Turkey to what a few journalists have astutely recognized as a neo-Ottomanism (Rubin, "Is Turkey" 2004).
From a carefully forged relationship with Israel under Ozal to a reinvented foreign policy of calling Israel a terrorist state, Erdogan has dramatically altered the Turkish-Sinai alliance. He has crafted Syrian and Iranian collaboration with Turkey in agendas to disempower the Kurds, while stiff-arming the U.S. Coming into power with the victory of the AKP in 2002, Erdogan spoke of a secular agenda, yet three years later his policies signal a move toward Gülen's brand of Islamic fundamentalism.
Writing in the Middle East Quarterly, Michael Rubin explains the AKP's rise to power in Turkey and its consequential initiation of Islamic referendums, "Erdogan has taken a slower, steadier path, careful not to rock the establishment too quickly while at the same time floating an occasional trial balloon for social reforms to advance the Islamist agenda" (Rubin "Green Money" 2005). He tirelessly works for Turkey's accession into the European Union (EU), in part to reduce the role of the military in governmental affairs as the EU commission has required and further to dissolve its co-dependency on America as it rebuilds an Islamic world. Violating a ban, his wife and daughter wear scarves at public events, a seemingly insignificant gesture but one signaling his intentions. To gain widespread support for his ideological policies, many of his cosmetic policies address issues that his constituents favor. Incurring popularity ensures an advancement of his goals; winning the favor of the public through decidedly visible reforms masks initiatives invisibly Islamic.
Rubin attributes the rise of the AKP to the reforms such as free textbooks and consumer goods tax relieves but finds the economic Islamic boom alarming, "More troubling yet is the pattern of tying Turkish domestic and foreign policy to an influx of what is called Yesil Sermaye, green money,' from wealthy Islamist businessmen and Middle Eastern states" (Rubin, "Green Money" 2005). In his view, Abdullah Gül's background in fiscal affairs in Saudi Arabia prepares Gül for the unannounced goal of constructing an Islamic financial system. "The Islamic banksand especially those sponsored by Saudi Arabiaregularly channel money to Islamist enterprises. On November 9, 2004, Deniz Baykal, leader of the parliamentary opposition Republican People's Party, accused the AKP of trying to create a religious-based economy" (Rubin, "Green Money" 2005).
Erdogan's rapidly accumulated billion dollar wealth goes to subsidize the Islamization of Turkey first and other nations second, through such conglomerates as Ulker and holding companies as Koc Holding. Rubin explains the source of income in spite of the secrecy, "Circumstantial evidence may mean that the AKP has a significant source of green money, but economic interests have resulted in an official wall of silence." In his view, money from such Islamic countries as Malaysia and Saudi Arabia has fueled the $5 billion dollar growth in the economy since the AKP gained power. What is obvious is that Erdo?an's power is gaining as that of the Turkish General Staff is waning.
Rubin concludes that the AKP's increase in power through popular reforms, media control such as that of the Dogan group, and the reduction of alternate authority such as that of the military will change the secular Turkish government that renders hope for minority groups, [such as the rights of the Kurds.], "The AKP is like a cancer. You feel fine, but then one day you start coughing blood. By the time you realize there's a problem, it's too far-gone." In advancing the fundamentalist agenda of a neo-Turkish Islam, Erdogan systematically and secretly undermines the Kurdish gains through globalization and EU requirements.
Having been unified as democracies against the threat of militants-sheltering Iran and Syria, Turkey and Israel no longer enjoy a strong diplomatic relationship but have taken on an almost adversarial one (Bar'el 2005). Erdogan attacked Israel for its "state terrorism" after the assassination of the founding Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmad Yassin in a helicopter strike. Subsequently Turkey's Prime Minister condemned vigorously Israel's tactics, comparing them to those used in the Spanish Inquisition in a meeting with Israeli Minister of Infrastructure. He repeated the charge against Sharon's government calling it a "terrorist state" after Israel raided the Rafah refugee camp in the Gaza Strip and closed the Palestinian tunnels used to smuggle weapons. As further evidence of this unraveling of Turkish-Israeli diplomacy, Erdogan failed to meet with the visiting Israeli deputy Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, when he came to Istanbul in 2004 (Stahl 2004).
Alon Liel, former Israeli Charges d'Affairs to Turkey in 1992, said that for the first time that Turkey is linking its bilateral relations with Israel to Israeli-Palestinian relations (CNS 2004). Erdogan's trilateral relations with Syria and Iran hinge on ties to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but more immediately, to Turkey's domestic "question" its rapport with the Kurds.
In terms of Erdogan's political policies, the Kurdish card figures significantly, as a consequence of his affiliation with and influence under Fethullah Gülen. In strengthening trilateral relations with Iran and Syria against Israel in order to build a pan-Islamic coalition against the Kurds, Erdogan has forged new agreements with his neighboring dictatorial regimes and taken an anti-Israeli stance. For example, using the commonality of a fear of Kurdish rebels, Prime Minister Erdogan recently visited Iran to convince the government to list Turkish Kurdish fighters as terrorists and to cooperate in fighting the former Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), insurgents reinvigorated as the Kongra-Gel ("Erdogan" 2004).
Setting aside formerly strained relations, Erdogan shared with Iran the concern that the Iraqi Kurds' move toward autonomy might ignite neighboring Kurds in Turkey and Iran, a worry that caused the Iranian security forces to crackdown on dissidents hiding along the Turkish-Iranian border. Erdogan, thus, has shifted from accusing Iran of sheltering Kurdish dissidents to signing one security initiative and three financial agreements with his neighbor. Yet while Iran may have decreased its support for and pledged retributions against the PKK, the Iranian security machinery continues to sponsor terrorism directed toward Turkey.
After the visit of President Bashar al-Assad, the first Syrian head of state to tap into their shared Muslim brotherhood, Erdogan exchanged visits in a "new era" of Turkish-Syrian bilateral accord. Ankara and Damascus are both apprehensive about the Iraqi Kurds' aspirations for self-rule. If an Iraqi federation leads to Kurdish autonomy, Syria and Turkey fear the destabilization of their minority populations. Formerly antagonistic because Turkey accused Syria of sheltering Kurdish separatists, Syria in 2003 signed a security agreement with Turkey to stop supporting the PKK, with other security measures that included extraditing terrorists charged in Turkey, as well as economic agreements. Erdogan set aside the issues of water from the Euphrates and the dual claim of the Hatay province to achieve his ends of using the Kurdish card to strengthen Turkish Islam.
Erdogan wants to continue Turkey's bent toward nationalism and its inclination toward seeing minorities as Turks as a means of ushering in a new strain of Turkish Islam. To achieve his goal, he has negotiated with Iran and Syria, to ensure that the Kurds do not accrue financial and educational power and thereby jockey into a position of creating an autonomous state (Gulerce 2005). Further he has denounced Israel and America in favor of a symbiotic relationship with Europe. Like his mentor Fethullah Gulen, Erdogan has tantalized the Turkish public with the opiate of democratic initiatives until they have become addicted to his popular reforms and are too drugged to notice his return of Turkey to a government ruled by fundamentalist ideology and its misuse to suppress the "mountain Turks."
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.

The Gulen Movement's relations with His Excellency Saparmurat Niyazov, Leader of all Turkmens
- one of the world's most repressive regimes

The Gulen Institute website declares that "The main goal of the Institute is to promote academic research as well as grass roots activity towards bringing about positive social change, namely the establishment of stable peace, social justice, and social harmony…"[/FONT]

In light of this purported interest in "social justice", it is of interest to examine the close relations between the Gulen Movement, including specifically one of its high-level members in the United States, and Saparmurat Niyazov, a.k.a. "His Excellency Saparmurat Niyazov, Great Leader of all Turkmens," who ruled Turkmenistan as President-for-Life until his death in 2006.[/FONT]

Background on Niyazov[/FONT]

The BBC had this to say of Niyazov's tenure in office: [/FONT]

It was, say analysts, one of the most authoritarian regimes in the world. [/FONT]

60 Minutes on Saparmurat Niyazov Jan 4, 2004:[/FONT]

"He's not only a brutal dictator, but a dictator who runs his country like it's his own private Disney World. [/FONT]

If you think Saddam Hussein was fond of himself, just visit Turkmenbashi's country. There's a poster or a statue of him in nearly every public space. [/FONT]

Laura Kennedy, who was U.S. Ambassador to Turkmenistan when 60 Minutes visited, says dealing with Turkmenbashi is not unlike dealing with North Korea's Kim Jong-il, or the former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein."[/FONT]

New York Times Feb 1, 2003[/FONT]

In trials that human rights organizations have said are reminiscent of Stalin's 1930's show trials, the accused, many of them political opponents of Mr. Niyazov, have been given sentences of between five years and life in prison.[/FONT]

Another 2003 New York Times article on Niyazov is entitled "When a Kleptocratic, Megalomaniacal Dictator Goes Bad."[/FONT]

And a New York Times article of January 1, 2008 noted that while in power, Niyazov had completely banned ballet and opera throughout Turkmenistan.[/FONT]

"Dialog and tolerance activities"?[/FONT]

On Fethullah Gulen's website, filed under the tabs "About Fethullah Gulen: Dialog and tolerance activities," the following report is given:[/FONT]

Turkmenistan[/FONT] 18-22 February 1999: Our group, which included academicians, businessmen and journalists, was received in the Turkmenistan capital of Ashkabad by Turkmenistan President Saparmurat Turkmenbashi. In the ceremony that took place, the Honorable Turkmenbashi thanked our Foundation for its efforts to re-establish the traditional ties of friendship and brotherhood between our peoples.[/FONT]

Strange credentials: award for translating brutal and repressive dictator's rambling treatise[/FONT]

A[/FONT]s former President of the Institute for Interfaith Dialogue, co-founder and editor of Fountain Magazine, and author of a book on Fethullah Gulen, Muhammed Cetin operates in the upper echelons of the Gulen Movement.[/FONT]

The website of the Sierra Foundation (a Gulenist non-profit in Nevada), gives a brief biography of Muhammed Cetin that includes the following lines:[/FONT]

"He has worked as lecturer, Vice-Rector and Ministerial Adviser in Turkmenistan. [/FONT]

"Cetin's translation of Saparmurat Niyazov's Ruhnama (2001) earned him an award for cultural service to Turkmenistan.[/FONT]"

Cetin may have reckoned that most readers in the United States would be unaware that this award, as well as the experience of working with Niyazov's regime, are dubious distinctions.[/FONT]

More on "Ruhnama"[/FONT]

Here is what the New York Times had to say about the book "Ruhnama" that Gulenist Muhammed Cetin translated:[/FONT]

"Niyazov has effectively destroyed primary education in Turkmenistan. Schoolchildren study almost exclusively from a single text, a disorganized, quasi-religious memoir-cum-national history written, of course, by the president. The book, ''Ruhnama'' (the word means ''soul of the people''), is a hodgepodge of bland exhortations on how to live a moral life (''Do whatever lawful thing your parents tell you to do'') and Niyazov's own treacly poetry and putative rules for governing (''The main target in agriculture until 2010 is to increase the production of grain and cotton''). The book lashes out at the Soviet Union for mistreating Turkmen, but Niyazov is careful to omit mention of his long career as a Soviet apparatchik. `Ruhnama' also contains examples of the handwriting of the `Beloved Leader Saparmurat Turkmenbashi the Great.' "[/FONT]

60 Minutes also weighed in on Ruhmana:[/FONT]

"In this secular Muslim nation of five million people, the new "Koran" of this new culture is a giant book which ceremonially opens every night at dusk. It's called the Ruhnama, the president's spiritual guide for the people of Turkmenistan, and it lists suggestions for better living through Turkmenbashi.

"Every kid in school here, young and old, must spend one day a week studying the Ruhnama."[/FONT]

The movie "Shadow of the Holy Book" covers in detail how the Ruhnama has been used as an instrument of political repression.[/FONT]

Gulenists served as advisors to Saparmurat Niyazov[/FONT]

Researchers studying the Gulen Movement noted that Gulen's followers were intimately involved with Niyazov's regime.[/FONT]

Bayram Balci, "Fethullah Gülen's Missionary Schools in Central Asia and their Role in the Spreading of Turkism and Islam," Religion, State & Society, Vol. 31, No. 2, 2003[/FONT]

"The cemaat is very active in Turkmenistan because two of its members are advisors of President Niyazov (the minister of Textiles and minister of Education)."[/FONT]

Joshua Hendrick, 2009 Thesis, University of California, Santa Cruz:[/FONT]

"The GM is also intimately linked with Turkey's recently famous multi-billion dollar family holding company, The Calik Group. ... [/FONT]

"Since the late-1990s, CEO Ahmet Calik has been a government minister Turkmenistan, and he was a personal advisor to the former Turkmen president and dictator Saparmurat Niyasov "Turkmenbashi" (d.2006).[/FONT]

"At the writing of this dissertation, Shadow of the Holy Book, a documentary film dealing with the corrupt relationships formed between Turkmenistan's dictator and varying global corporations hoping to establish inroads in the resource rich nation, is being premiered at film festivals around the world. The company that earns the most favors from the Turkmen state, and the company that the film lambastes as the most secretive and the most complacent in terms of human rights violations in Turkmenistan, however, is Calik Holding."[/FONT]

Saparmurat Niyazov and Haydar Aliyev were honored at the Gulen Movement's Turkish Language Olympics[/FONT]

An article on Fethullah Gulen's website entitled "Winners at Turkish Olympics are Champions of Peace" states:[/FONT]

"Two countries receive the Ataturk prize[/FONT]: [/FONT]The Special Ataturk Award was given to honor Saparmurat Turkmenbashi, the late President of Turkmenistan and Haydar Aliyev, the former President of Azerbaijan who died several years ago."[/FONT]

The New York Times obituary of Haydar Aliyev, Dec 13, 2003, noted the following:[/FONT]

"Heydar Aliyev, a former Soviet secret police general who for 30 years ruled his native Azerbaijan with an iron fist, first as its Communist leader, then as elected president after independence, died yesterday..."[/FONT]

"Outside the oil sector, a climate of widespread corruption, cronyism and administrative incompetence damaged economic prospects. Transparency International, an anticorruption watchdog, lists Azerbaijan as the seventh most corrupt nation of the 102 surveyed. [/FONT]

"An extravagant personality cult was another feature of Mr. Aliyev's rule. His portrait decorated towns and villages. Workers were bused to rallies in his honor. A star and a mountain were named after him. Three museums were built to record his accomplishments."[/FONT]

A Human Rights Watch report on Azerbaijan from 2000 noted that[/FONT]

"While the government in 2000 adopted several laws that aimed to strengthen civic freedoms, its human rights record remained poor…"[/FONT]

An award for "unifying" Bosnia Herzegovina with the "Turkish World"?[/FONT]

Another report on Fethullah Gulen's website, again under the tabs "About Fethullah Gulen: Dialog and Tolerance Activities," states that:[/FONT]

"Bosnia Herzegovina[/FONT] 26-30 September 1999: Our group was met by Bosnia Herzegovina President, the Honorable Aliya Izzetbegovich, to whom our group chairman, Harun Tokak, presented the Turkish World and Related Communities Unification Award."[/FONT]

This award is particularly striking as it seems to imply that Alija Izetbegovic, by declaring independence of Bosnia in the hopes of creating a Muslim republic, was somehow "unifying" that nation with the "Turkish World." The report goes on to note that Bosnia was once part of the Ottoman Empire. One consequence of Izetbegovic's decision to pursue Bosnian independence was that it precipitated the brutal Bosnian war. [/FONT]

A New York Times article of August 17, 1999 noted the extreme corruption under Izetbegovic's regime:[/FONT]

"Leaders in Bosnia are said to steal up to $1 Billion: [/FONT]
Officials of the Office of the High Representative and Western diplomats say one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in Bosnia is Bakir Izetbegovic, the son of President Izetbegovic. He controls The City Development Institute, in charge of determining the occupancy rights of 80,000 publicly owned apartments in Sarajevo. The apartments, many of which belonged to Serbs or Croats before the war, have been given to members of the governing Muslim-led Social Democratic Party. Others who want occupancy rights must pay Mr. Izetbegovic $2,000, said several Bosnians who have paid the fee. // Mr. Izetbegovic owns 15 percent of Bosnia Air, the state airline, and takes a cut of the extortion money paid out by local shopkeepers to Sarajevo gangsters, the diplomats said."[/FONT]


In summary, a consideration of some of the awards that followers of Gulen have both accepted and distributed may justifiably lead some to question the claim that the Gulen Movement works for social justice and human rights.[/FONT]
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Fethullah Gulen & His Multi-Billion Worth Islamic Entourage
[Image: fethullah_gulen.jpg]For those of you first-timers, who have never seen or heard this name before, please don't start with Wikipedia ! I recommend checking out articles and analyses by Mizgin Yilmaz, and Luke Ryland; like this one here. Mizgin has been covering Gulen and significant Gulen related developments for years, and now, recently, all of a sudden, there appears to be these tainted-tilted-falsified-glorified articles in English popping up in the mainstream media and the not-so-mainstream but nonetheless the same outlets. Don't get me wrong- this guy and the entire operation is very SIGNIFICANT. In fact, significant enough to be censored and blocked by the US mainstream media until recently. So, what's the deal? What's the real aim? Who wants what? And why?
As I've said, first read Mizgin's coverage, and some background coverage by Luke Ryland here. Then, let's take a look at one of the recent mainstream media articles like this one:
October, 1992. the Soviet Union has disbanded and chaos reigns in its former territories. Three times a week, a rattly Russian charter plane filled with young Muslim devotees flies east from Istanbul across barren, low-lying steppes to the capitals of Central Asia. The men are clean-cut, sharply dressed in dark suits and ties, trim of mustache and purposeful. It is the first foray out of their hometown for most, let alone on a plane, but such is their faith in Fethullah Gulen, the Turkish Muslim imam they revere. "Fly like swallows," Gulen exhorted, "to these countries that are newly free, as an expression of our brotherhood."
Fly they did. Hundreds of volunteer teachers fanned out across five Central Asian republics. It was the start of a global movement that is now one of the largest and most powerful competing for the future of Islam around the world. There are an estimated 1,000 Gulen-affiliated schools in 100 countries from Malawi to the U.S. offering a blend of religious faith and largely Western curriculum. All are inspired by Gulen, an enigmatic retired preacher who oversees the schools and a multibillion-dollar business empire from the unlikeliest of locales: rural Pennsylvania.
It's a fairly lengthy piece, so it continues:
Gulen, the 68-year-old retired imam behind this colossal enterprise has never visited Central Asia. He leads an ascetic life on an estate in Pennsylvania, where he has lived since 1999 for medical reasons, and to avoid facing (recently dropped) charges of seeking to overthrow the secular regime in Turkey. Gulen declined TIME's request for an interview, citing poor health.
Secularist hostility makes the movement secretive. There is no reliable data on the size of Gulen's following because one doesn't sign up to join and it has no official legal status. But it is growing in power. Gulen supporters are estimated to number at least 6 million, according to academics researching the phenomenon. (More surprising is a former Interior Minister's estimate that 70% of Turkey's national police forces are Gulen devotees.) "If they were a political party, they could post 20 to 25 MPs," says Nedim Sener, an investigative journalist. "Any movement that wields that much power needs to be transparent, like an NGO. Who belongs to it? How is it funded? What goes on in the schools they run? What are its political goals? These are all issues shrouded in secrecy."
And after more along the same lines here is the ending:
Add a quest for power to that fervor, though, and it gets complicated. In Turkey the movement is insular, growing and seems to harbor a mysterious political agenda. "On one level you have activities like the schools, which are hard not to be impressed by," says King's College lecturer Park. "Then there's the political element, which appears suspicious because it's rich, secretive and nobody really knows what it's up to." Gulen says he is opposed to theocracy, yet his supporters suggest that they would like more space for Islam in public life. But how will that come to pass? The future shape of secularism in Turkey and around the Islamic world might rest on that answer.
Of course, while it brings a bit of attention to this operation's significance and reach targeting Central Asia since the mid 1990s, you'll find no mention of the joint cooperation between Gulen and the State Department, or not the well-hidden secret of his CIA protectors, including his well-known ex-CIA body guards and backers such as Graham Fuller. Absolutely nothing.
And here is another piece written by a Turkish agent (news? Turkish government? US-Turkish agenda-setters?) published by the Turkish mainstream paper Hurriyet interestingly titled The Gulen Movement Plays Big in Washington':
It was one of the lavish lounges of the Willard Hotel in Washington where hundreds of Turkic people from all across America with plain name tags gathered to mark the creation of a new umbrella Turkic Assembly last Wednesday. Six Turkish-American federations, which have close proximity to Mr. Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish cleric and the exiled leader of the Turkey-based religious Gülen Movement joined to form the Assembly of Turkic American Federations, or ATAF, a non-profit organization.
Half a dozen U.S. Senators and a few dozens of U.S. Representatives made a strong showing at the reception and the Gülen Movement hinted that its new assembly has some muscles to flex in Washington already.
The Gülen Movement accelerated its activities in U.S., especially since the leader of the Movement, Fethullah Gülen settled in Pennsylvania about a decade ago. During the mid '90s, after almost three decades in the making, it was still operating very much under the radar in Turkey.
The unexpected and sudden decision to combine all of their 180 organizations under one umbrella assembly was a surprising move, at any rate, for those who follow the Gülen movement closely and are aware about its cautious strategies and steps.
Mr. Gülen first decided to go public with a wide ranging interview in early 1995, and in the following years the movement attracted ever-increasing attention. The postmodern-military coup of Feb. 28, 1997 pushed Gülen out of Turkey to find refuge in the U.S. Only more than a decade later, the Gülen Movement gathered enough manpower, recognition and credit to bring dozens of members of Congress to its half-official Washington debut night. The Turkish ambassador to the U.S., Mr. Namık Tan, came to the reception and stayed there almost the entire night, having conversations with the members of the U.S. Congress alhough not everyone was as joyful about the new kid in town. The Assembly of Turkish-American Associations, or ATAA's, president, Günay Evinç, was pretty upset about the name of this new assembly because of its similar word selection with their own assembly. Evinç argued that this name similarity has created a big administrative disaster for their organization to explain the difference.
Again, no mentioning of why Gulen happened to pick the US to defect to, or why this multi-billion dollar organization's operation center (headquarters) happens to be in the States, or how the State Department has been backing, protecting, and promoting Gulen in the US and abroad (mainly his activities in Central Asia)…Nothing. Nada. Zip zip zilch. The same Turkish reporter/writer/agent who happens to be based in the US (Washington DC;-) has written other pieces (along the same lines) on his site here.
Let's go ahead and simplify this a bit, shall we? The Russians hate Gulen. The US agenda-setters, the real policy-setters (Neocons and realists alike) love Gulen and have been supporting/backing/funding/protecting him since the mid 90s; especially (mainly, that is) those operations conducted in Central Asia. This man who doesn't even have a high-school diploma has been promoted as a major scholar' by the CIA and the State Department, against multiple operations and investigations conducted by the FBI, and later by the Department of Homeland Security. So now: what's really up with Gulen? Is he "a man for all seasons" or "a man for all agendas" set by our real agenda-setters? And, why this sudden coverage (long-due but completely distorted, sanitized, and re-formulated) by the mainstream media and the agents'? Please be my guest and chip in with your own analyses and input!
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Hidden Agenda?

Parents raise concerns that a Tucson charter school has ties to a Turkish nationalist movement

by Tim Vanderpool
  • Sonoran Science Academy
No one can knock the numbers. In recent years, students at Tucson's Sonoran Science Academy have secured stellar scores in math, science and other categories. The academy has earned glowing mentions in national magazines such as U.S. News and World Report, and in 2009, was deemed Charter School of the Year by the Arizona Charter School Association.
But some parents of children who attend the academy on West Sunset Road believe it harbors goals reaching far beyond academia. They suspect the Sonoran Academy of being part of a confederation of learning institutions secretly linked to, and advancing, the cause of Turkish scholar and Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.
While most of those parents have resisted coming forward, fearing reprisal from an organization they say is known to target critics, one parent did agree to speak to the Weekly if we pledged to keep her identity hidden. The parent says she represents others at the academy who've become suspicious about the striking similarities of its educational programs to those of other schools around the United States which are operated by Turkish-born staff members.
She says teachers and administers freely circulate among these schools. At the same time, says the parent, the Sonoran Academy seems constantly to be bringing Turkish educators into the United States, and subjecting students to substitute teachers while the teachers await work visas.
According to this parent, all of these ties may lead covertly back to the Gülen movement, named for the scholar, who founded a network of schools around the world and now lives in exile in Pennsylvania. She says several Sonoran Academy parents believe the school has a hidden agenda to promote Gülen's brand of Turkish nationalism, advance sympathy for that country's political goals such as winning acceptance into the European Union, and discourage official acknowledgement of Turkey's genocide against the Armenians during World War I.
"We found one document, in Turkish, that talks about the purpose of these charter schools," says the parent. "They refer to them very explicitly as schools (belonging) to their movement. They're calculating, and they say if they can have something like 600 schools, then every year, they can produce 120,000 sympathizers for Turkey.
"I sent my kids to this school because I wanted them to meet regular Muslims and to see them as ordinary people," she says. "But when I find that my kids are to be turned into genocide-deniers, that's very disturbing to me."
Fatih Karatas is principal of the academy's middle school. He calls such claims ridiculous.
"We don't have any kind of connections or any kind of relations with that movement or group. A public school can not be affiliated in any way with other institutions or groups because of the regulations, because of the charters."
He also says his school has a diverse staff, native to countries ranging from Turkey to Mexico, which he considers a benefit. "But we're not promoting a certain ideology. ... These are defamatory allegations that are not based on any proof or evidence."
Still, the Sonoran Academy isn't the first Turkish-American-run charter school in United States to be accused of links to Gülen. Parents at the Beehive Science and Technology Academy in Holladay, Utah, have also raised concerns that their school is linked to this movement. And according The Salt Lake Tribune, one Beehive teacher was fired when his lesson plan about World War II and the Holocaust prompted a discussion in which the school's principal purportedly questioned that genocide.
Although Utah's State Charter School Board cleared Beehive of deliberately promoting Gülen beliefs, lawmakers there have continued to probe its finances. The school-board investigation revealed that Beehive received loans from administrators at other Turkish-American schools, and from executives of the Accord Institute, a California-based organization with a Turkish-American staff. Accord provides educational consulting services and develops education models for programs for schools including Tucson's Sonoran Academy. But Karatas, calls the institute a "private organization," and says he's unaware of any ties between Accord and Gülen.
Other connections raise more questions. They include the Pacifica Institute, which operates the "Turkish Olympiads," in which Sonoran Academy students are encouraged to participate. The Olympiad contests range from essay writing and singing to poetry composition. According to its Web site, the institute was formed by Turkish-Americans in California with a mission of promoting cross-cultural awareness.
In December, the Pacifica Institute co-hosted a Gülen conference with the University of Southern California, and actively promotes Gülen beliefs on its Web site.
Indeed, the Gülen movement's own Web site seems to lay the groundwork for claims made by the Tucson parent. It discusses the group's rapidly expanding, worldwide educational facilities which have "made Gülen's network the most influential Turkish-Islamic movement both in Turkey and abroad. ... In the field of education, this part of the identity is however not stressed and teachers from outside the (movement) work at these schools as well. They may be non-Muslims and in many cases the pupils have never heard of Fethullah Gülen."
The Weekly was provided with a list of Turkish staff members that have rotated through various schools and the Accord Instituteanother strategy promoted by the Gülen Web site.
Of course, all of this could be purely coincidental. But the Tucson mother says many parents feel increasingly betrayed by what they consider the Sonoran Academy's ongoing secrecy.
"Other parents say, 'I could almost be OK with this if they were out in the open about it.' But the (school) has done such a phenomenal job of keeping this a secret."
However, Karatas suggests those who make such claims are flirting with trouble.
"I'm hoping that they know that these are defamatory allegations which may put them in trouble later on. These are excelling schools. ... I hope they are aware of what they're doing."
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Wandering Imams indeed!

More than interesting Magda. I remain a big fan of Sybil Edmonds. What she demonstrates time and time again, is how our trusty western media cannot be trusted at all, and how they are willingly used to create tasty illusions for the public at large to swallow.

If forums such as the DPF do nothing more than make as many people as possible aware of our media subterfuge, its inherent dishonesty and critical propaganda role, then we have done a job well worth doing.
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
Magda Hassan Wrote:Looks like they are expanding from Wandering Bishops to Wandering Imams.

:crutch: :crutch: :crutch: :crutch:

Many of the original wandering bishops were from East European Orthodox churches, with strong pro-Nazi, anti-communist, sentiments and links. Some of the more important wandering bishops were allowed to use the orthodox priesthood as cover and plausible deniability.

With the wandering imams, it looks like part of the plan was to use these "holy men" to foment disorder and strife in the Russian stans. However, they clearly also provided bases and cover for off the books special ops teams.

Fundamentally, this is the Gladio MO.
"It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
"Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
"They are in Love. Fuck the War."

Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

"Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war
When Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, traveled to Washington for crucial talks with US President Barack Obama on May 16, many wondered whether he would succeed in persuading the US leader to take a tougher line on Syria. Yet, there was another big question hanging in the air. Would Erdogan make time to meet with Fethullah Gulen, Turkey's most influential Sunni cleric, who lives in self-imposed exile in rural Pennsylvania?

Tensions between Erdogan (a fellow imam) and Gulen have been simmering for some time. Yet, as the rift deepens so, too, has speculation about a protracted power struggle in the run-up to nationwide municipal elections that are meant to be held in March 2014. The elections are viewed as a litmus test of Erdogan's unassailable popularity and their outcome will shine a light on his chances of becoming Turkey's first popularly elected president when Abdullah Gul steps down in August 2014. Gulen, who commands a global empire of media outlets, charities, businesses and schools, can sway his followers either way.
In the event Erdogan did not meet with Gulen, he sent his Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc as an emissary instead. Speaking to reporters in Washington on May 18, Erdogan said, "We have an old relationship based on friendship and brotherhood. The aim of Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc's visit [to Gulen] was to dispel negative rumors and gossip."
The meeting came just days after Gulen rebutted accusations that he had targeted Erdogan in a recent sermon in which he railed against the evils of arrogance.
Indeed, both sides seem eager to paper over the cracks. Yet, it is unlikely that their differences will disappear anytime soon. "Gulen is not the Dalai Lama, he is extremely tough," commented one of his followers. Maybe so, but the Gulen's strictly pacifist brand of moderate Islam is upheld as a countervailing force to Sunni extremism across much of the globe. Since 2006, Russian authorities have shut down a string of Gulen-affiliated schools on the grounds that they were acting as CIA fronts.
Gulen's followers regard themselves as a civil society movement, not an Islam-based network. They recently rebranded themselves as the "Hizmet" service that is extended across the globe.
In the United States, the Hizmet runs more than a hundred charter schools. It is now branching out into the media. From shiny new studios in suburban New Jersey, Your Family Network, Ebru TV, a Gulen-affiliated channel, airs Turkish miniseries lauding the virtues of faith and family life, all dubbed in English. In far-flung corners of Africa, selfless Hizmet disciples teach Turkish and the latest computer science, while others heal the sick and feed the poor.
The Gulenists believe in good relations with the West. Their piety and nationalism are on a par. Determinedly pragmatic they have sought to remain on the right side of the Turkish state. And even their harshest detractors concede that their schools have embellished Turkey's image abroad. But a lack of transparency continues to feed suspicions about the Hizmet's intentions and most of all within Turkey's fiercely pro-secular army. Soon after they unseated the country's first Islamist-led government in 1997, the generals embarked on a massive purge of the Gulenists. Gulen took refuge in the United States and was tried in absentia by a special state security court on thinly documented charges of seeking to overthrow Turkey's secular order.
He was cleared in 2006, some two years after Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) swept to power. A fellow imam, Erdogan sprang from Turkey's more conservative Islamist Milli Gorus (National View) movement. Ideologically speaking, the pair makes unlikely bedfellows. But in the early days of AKP rule they teamed up against their common foe, the army. Reams of incriminating documents which purportedly proved that the army was planning to overthrow Erdogan were published by Taraf, an independent liberal daily newspaper, but also by the pro-Gulen media. These were used to jail hundreds of generals, currently on trial in the controversial Ergenekon case.
As the Hizmet put down roots, it began behaving in the words of an analyst who follows the movement very closely "like a state within a state," wielding its newfound clout to "pursue perceived enemies across the board." Its targets included several journalists and a former police chief who wrote books that sought to document claims of Hizmet infiltration of the government.
All were jailed in connection with the Ergenekon case sparking accusations that the Hizmet was pursuing revenge, not justice. The tipping point came when an Istanbul prosecutor summoned Hakan Fidan, Turkey's spy chief, for questioning over links to rebels of the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). An incensed Erdogan hit back with a law that renders the prosecution of any intelligence official subject to government approval. There followed vows to shut down thousands of prep schools, many of them run by the Hizmet. Assorted bureaucrats and police officials said to have Hizmet connections are on the block. When Erdogan alluded to "a lack of communication" between the police force and the intelligence services after the twin car bomb attack that ripped through Reyhanli on May 11, some commentators suggested that this was another swipe at the Gulenists.
Rehyanli's police chief has since been sacked. Fidan's men have not been touched.
Gulen's followers discard claims of Hizmet infiltration as outright lies: "The sole purpose" of which, in the words of a Hizmet spokesman, "is to discredit a movement that loyally serves Turkey's interests."
Either way, the effects of Erdogan's peace overture should become apparent in the coming days. Will the Hizmet linked media stop criticizing Erdogan's latest Kurdish initiative or his interventionist Syrian policy? Will they support AKP candidates in the municipal polls and most critically in Istanbul? And what about Erdogan's presidential dreams? Might the Hizmet rally behind a rival candidate who would also enjoy the support of the main opposition parties? If so, Erdogan could be in trouble. But only if that rival candidate is the highly popular President Gul. And sources close to the president tell Al-Monitor that he has absolutely no interest in being drawn into a fight.
Meanwhile, Anatolian entrepreneurs who are a vital financing source for Hizmet schools are said to be upset by the feud. With the stakes so high, and with no obvious winner, most analysts predict that a deal will be struck.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.

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