Tuesday, February 25, 2014

We Fund Turkish Turmoil With Our Schools

That's what people are going to figure out if there's ever a shred of accountability in charter spending in Illinois.

Never in my life did I ever expect to read so much about Turkey, but since there are four Gulen-linked schools here in Illinois (three publicly financed, one private), I'm keeping tabs on the goings-on in that ancient land.

Here's Princeton's Dani Rodrik, writing on his blog:

If the rest of the world really want to help Turkey

Here is the one paragraph version of what is happening in Turkey.
During the last decade in which he has been in power, Erdogan has allowed the Gulen movement to take control over the police, judiciary, and large parts of the state apparatus. The Gulen movement in turn established a republic of dirty tricks, with illegal wiretaps and video recordings, fabricated evidence, framing of innocent people, slander and disinformation as its modus operandi.  The monster Erdogan created eventually turned against him as the common enemy, the military and the rest of the secular establishment, were vanquished. He is now trying to slay the monster. That means purges, bringing the judiciary under his control, tightening the screws on the Internet and social media, and greatly expanding the powers of MiT, the national intelligence organization. The collateral damage for Turkish democracy – or what remained of it – is huge.
We cannot look at all this and focus only on what Erdogan is doing without at least acknowledging that the Gulenists also bear considerable responsibility for bringing the country to its current crisis. The idea that there was something like the rule of law or Turkey was democratizing before Erdogan began to tighten the screws on the Gulen movement is dangerous nonsense. Those who call on Erdogan to respect democracy and the rule of law should be calling on the Gulen movement to do the same. Otherwise, they end up taking sides in a war in which neither side looks pretty.
Here is an analogy. Suppose Erdogan was still fighting the military rather than the Gulenists. Americans’ and European criticism of Erdogan would be coupled with calls on the military to respect democratic rules. Otherwise, it would look like these outsiders were favoring one authoritarian force over another.
So that is why interventions like this and this are one-sided and not that helpful.
I don't often steal whole blog posts, but I certainly did it here, didn't I? Professor Rodrik is saying something remarkably similar to the things I've been saying on these pages about the influence the Gulen Movement has bought for itself here in sleepy old Illinois. After all, we have an entire House resolution praising Fethullah Gulen (thanks to Susana Mendoza), the text of which must have been drafted by the most ardent acolyte in Saylorsburg, and we also have a Gulen-aligned "Turkish Relations Task Force" (thanks to Toni Berrios and a bunch of others who received Gulen-sponsored junkets to Turkey).  We also have the strange, unnecessary Praise-to-the-Niagara (Gulen)-guy resolution, thanks to many of those same starry-eyed legislators, who were probably still jet lagged when they signed onto it. If these were private love notes, that would be one thing, but the legislature speaks for the state. And if you look at all the junkets, the awards, the dinners and lunches and general glomming onto anyone in state government, it becomes clear that the Gulen Movement has more direct access to Illinois policymakers than most people in the state.

Anyway, it's a complicated mess over there. It's also one here, because this very same movement has business before the state--- a growing charter school business, which has benefitted enormously from decisions made by people connected to junkets, appointed by junket-receivers, and connected at every level to an aggressive soft-lobbying and influence-building effort. 

In April, we'll be taking another look at the Movement, the charter schools linked to it, and the interconnectedness of the individuals involved. I have very little doubt at this point that if we ever get honesty-in-charters legislation (that is, if we ever get to see the books of these charter management organizations), we're going to see clearly that the schools fund the Movement. That is to say, the taxpayers fund the Movement. 

And down the road, I'll start to write about why that's a very bad idea, both here and back in Turkey, where the everyday people have to live in an opaque, unaccountable no-man's land of secrecy and corruption.

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

The Grooming of Illinois Policymakers: Toni Berrios
Today's Gulen Charter School News
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

No comments:

Post a Comment