Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Gulen Money Train

Just in case you missed it, the Turkish parliament has voted to close down the Gulen schools in Turkey. The schools, which are private, for-profit cram schools, are evidently a main revenue artery for the Movement.

Fortunately for the Movement, the American branch is doing fine; the government here even pays for the schools and there's very little oversight. All you have to do is contract out the management of your public charter school to a private management firm, and shazam, the cash goes completely dark.  It's a money train.

Think of it as your little way of financing the global agenda of the Gulen Movement and taking a stand in the internal strife of a land far away.

Sharon Higgins recently reported over on Diane Ravitch's blog about the current status of the Gulen schools here in the States.

The Turkish prime minister had some choice words about the Movement:
"They have sucked like leeches. Leeches are more virtuous: leeches suck dirty blood, while they suck clean blood and hold sessions cursing me, my wife, my children, my administration."
Sounds like it's going to end well, doesn't it?  Then I also saw the Turkish justice minister making some coy remarks about going after Gulen through extradition, which they're not currently doing, but they're certainly leaving the door open to it:
“However, there are some assessments in favor of a search through a Red Notice because of illegalities, immoralities and some actions that are crimes in our law, which have all erupted within the framework of ongoing debates in Turkey. There is nothing we can do as the Justice Ministry within the framework of these assessments because the ministry has no such authority. This is entirely something which can happen within the content of an investigation,” he said.
The main thing I've learned about Turkish politics in the past year is that there's going to be an investigation sooner or later. The Gulenists appear to have most of the wiretaps, but the prime minister, as Frank Underwood would say, has the men with guns.  It's a shame Mario Puzo died before he got a chance to write about these guys.

I've got my fingers crossed for the Turkish people. When you see them out in the streets by the tens of thousands, protesting the lurching authoritarianism of the state, and getting pepper-sprayed and water-cannoned and rubber-bulleted, and real-bulleted, it's pretty impressive. 60% of the people in Turkey have a negative view of the Movement. And yet here we are, funding it.

 Two of the Gulen-linked schools in Chicago (Horizon Science Charter School Academy – McKinley Park and Horizon Science Charter School Academy - Belmont) were approved by the Illinois State Charter Commission, the doomed, unelected board that can decide how public education dollars can be funneled into private hands.

In Turkey, the Gulen Movement is viewed widely as a "parallel state," so it seems sort of fitting that part of their success here in Illinois is through a parallel school board, comprised of people who never had to bother running for office.

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