Saturday, February 15, 2014

Today's Gulen Charter School News

In today's Gulen charter school news, well, as always, it's murky and interconnected.  Remember that the Gulen Movement runs something like 145 American public charter schools across the land, including schools here in Chicago.

Evidently in Maine, they have a state charter commission, too, except theirs is less idiotic than our own here in Illinois.  Looks like their commission is also empowered to overrule elected people. However, to their credit they've found some shall we say "discrepancies" in the Gulen Movement application for a school in Lewiston. Evidently the Movement people allegedly told some outright falsehoods in their application, including listing as supporters some people who clearly aren't supporters. Here's a photo from the Maine meeting; I've pointed out an individual we'll be talking about in a bit.

The article also indicates that the Maine commission is looking hard at the religious angle; it appears that in the Lewiston marketing plan, the Movement people are taking a less interfaith approach, not that I care. It's just nice that the Maine commission is at least behaving like it has a responsibility to ask questions.

“The bottom line is that, right or wrong, Gulen or not, the parents of this potential school likely view the school as matching well with their Muslim faith and quite possibly that is the only reason they would support the school,” Webster said.

Read the whole thing. In Maine, they ask questions. In Illinois, they line up for junkets and fake awards and the chance to perform odd, choreographed poses in marketing videos.

Incidentally, the Chicago connection here is that Huseyin Kara (above) has worked his way around the Gulen charter network, including time at Concept in Des Plaines ("President & Chief Executive Officer, Math Instructional Coordinator") from 2006-2009. He also served for a year at the ill-fated Wisconsin Career Academy, which was started by the man who is now Fethullah Gulen's right hand man and who tried to start Gulen schools in Oak Park and Des Plaines in 2000.

Kara was also a Board member of Horizon Educational Services in 2003 along with the current Concept president, Sedat Duman. Kara, Concept, Horizon, the Lewiston group--these guys move around a lot but they never leave the firm.

Mr. Kara is very busy repackaging the company story, which is starting to wear thin with anyone with access to a Google search.

*For more on Mr. Kara, see below.

[In a humorous aside, I learned today the Fethullah Gulen doesn't even have any affiliation with the Gulen Movement. He just lives in their house, sorta, if the Saudi Gazette has the story correct.

Alp Aslandogan, president of the Alliance for Shared Value, another Hizmet affiliate, said the center was “founded by Turkish-Americans living in the area” and run as a non-profit association.

Gulen, he explained, owns nothing and uses nothing more than a bedroom and a desk, leaving only for rare medical visits, he said.

You'll note that Mr. Aslandogan (Wisconsin Career Academy, failed charter attempts in Des Plaines and Oak Park) is identifying himself as the president of something you've never heard of. Once you start digging around, you begin to notice dozens of these affiliates that are basically alternate groupings of the same core collection of people. Between the archipelago of shell groups and the unfamiliar Turkish names, I'm pretty sure I know why the American press can't follow this story: it requires concentration. ]

Meanwhile, back in Turkey, they were fist fighting in Parliament yesterday.

Stolen from Reuters
Evidently the horrid, authoritarian prime minister (Erdogan) is trying to take over the independent judiciary to expedite the rooting out of his former allies, the Gulenists. Here's what you need to know.

So, it's really clean over there.  You just have to look past the pandemic corruption, the disregard for human rights, and the fact all of these people have basically gone to the mattresses against each other. But Gulen doesn't own the Compound so chill out and hand over your schools.

I can see why Maine is asking questions. The imam at the center of this Turkish drama? He's probably at this moment sitting not five feet away from the man who surely has these Lewiston guys on speed dial because they've been working together for years.

This movement -- it's bigger than US Steel, to quote a phrase. It's also wealthier and more organized so I'm glad people are starting to look into it.  And by the way, Al Capone didn't own Cicero but people understood who was in charge.

In case you missed it, and you probably did, some Turkish democrats braved the snow in Saylorsburg today and drove out to the Compound to make their voices heard. As far as compounds go, it looks pretty nice from the road. It must be weird inside, though. All these people milling around not having the slightest idea who anyone else is...

Gulen Compound Protest 2-15-14 from Tim Furman on Vimeo.

I like protesters with a sense of humor. They're talking about Gulen and Erdogan (the prime minister) being traitors.  I'll try to get it translated for you. If you're an Illinois legislator, just ignore it and enjoy your trip and your trophy.  The protestors are in step with the majority of the Turkish population, by the way. 
Some 60 percent of those polled describe their overall view of Gulen's movement as negative and 57 percent believe it to have established what Erdogan has described as a "parallel state" within the state bureaucracy.
Once again, for me the mystery of it all is the most interesting part of it. On the one hand we have a NATO country imploding into a civil cold war with an international imam-of-mystery at the very core of it all.  On the other hand we have an American charter school network run by the soldiers of the imam's army (to steal a title), who have never met or heard of each other and who are in no way connected,  who have correctly figured out that the American charter sector is precisely the one place in the States where oversight is specifically written out of the picture. And on the third  hand (yes, there are three hands in this metaphor) we have an American public so completely brainwashed about the state of education that it's basically unable to see the thing that's staring it right in the face.

Gulen 101: Session Two, With Sharon Higgins is now being planned; look for your invitation in the mail soon.

If you're new to the topic, please see some of my previous work:

Gulen 101: Session One, With Sharon Higgins.
The Tribune And The Gulen Movement
When Does This Gulen Mess In Illinois Become A Scandal?
Eyes Wide Shut In Illinois
About That BBC Gulen Interview
Think About This For A Moment
The Tribune Is So Full Of It
About That Unauthorized Invitation
How Does It All Start?
The Movement, As Seen By Our Own Foreign Service
Fellowship Joins With The Movement
The Grooming Of Illinois Policymakers: Susana Mendoza
What Is Going On In These Schools?
The Phone Call That Won't Be Happening Any Time Soon
What This Gulen Mess Is Really All About
Read The Whole Thing
An Addendum To The Concept Story
Concept Schools Have Learned Rahm's Rules
Connecting The Dots In Charter Secrecy

*This came in over the transom regarding Mr. Kara:

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