Thursday, February 27, 2014

My Conversation With Sheriff Tom Dart*

It only takes a couple of minutes a day to read another story about why we should be at least cognizant of the full nature of the Gulen Movement. For example, today in the Times, Tim Arango talks in depth about what the rest of the world seems to understand:
Whether the corruption charges are justified or not — there has been plenty of leaked evidence, especially wiretapped conversations, that appears incriminating — the corruption probe has laid bare the influence of the Gulen movement within the Turkish state, which had largely been suspected but hard to prove.
Read the whole thing.

Remember, this ultra-secretive network runs 147 charter schools here in the States. So, that's about 60,000 American students whose entire education (including the funding) is tied to individuals who are involved in something that's quite a bit more than what it appears to be at first glance.  If this meltdown in Turkey turns into a shooting match, then what? How does that play out here?

With the help of highly knowledgeable people, I've been documenting the influence-seeking behavior of the Movement here for some time. Last night, I saw Sheriff Tom Dart out in the Twittersphere, and I needled him a bit. It's what I do.

He didn't respond, of course, and I don't blame him. But after a day's reflection, I still think it's a pretty good question. They're clearly working him--- the invitation to speak at Niagara will undoubtedly be followed by an award or a junket. In fact, someone with press credentials should ask him if he's been to Turkey yet or gotten himself choreographed in an award video, like they do.

Weirdly, another #gulencharterschool watcher recently found an example of different sheriff who got the treatment and also a gig in the Movement for his retirement. 

These guys are good. I bet there's nothing in the world that could persuade this New Jersey sheriff to have a critical look at the evidence.

Hilal Kaplan, who writes for Al Jazeera from Istanbul, posted an intelligent piece two days ago about the Movement, quoting from a 1999 video clip from Gulen himself-- it's a quote widely known to people in Turkey and to others who study the Movement around the world:
"The existence of our comrades is the guarantee of the future of Islam. From this aspect, their presence in the law courts, or in the civil service, or in other service sectors, the existence of our comrades cannot be evaluated as being out of individual obligation. Rather, in these units, they are the guarantee for our future (...) without having formed a strong front in the constitutional institutions; any step we take will be too early. 
Until you have reached the correct saturation, until you have the strength to carry the world on your back, until you have laid claim to those things that represent power, until you have formed a powerful front in all of the constitutional institutions that are equivalent to the formation of the state in Turkey, every step you take will be a step too early."
So, that's the mindset, as far as I can tell. Every legislator, every  sheriff, every influential person needs to be cultivated as a friend for the long-term effort. And they less they know, the better.

*And by "conversation," I mean, "unrequited Twitter stalking."

New to the topic?
Please see some of my previous posts.

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