When Secretary of State Tillerson arrives in Ankara on Thursday, he’s sure to meet with questions about Fethullah Gülen’s continued operation of a vast money laundering scheme in the US, CBS News reports. Gülen’s charter schools are coming under increasing scrutiny for misappropriation of taxpayer dollars to fund his transnational political movement:
The FBI is investigating whether Gulen’s followers have skimmed money from those schools in order to fund his movement in Turkey. A senior State Department official believes Gulen-linked charities and educational institutions in the U.S. look “a lot like the ways in which organized crime sets itself up… to hide money for money laundering.”
“They’re a threat to our relationship with Turkey and thus to the stability of the Middle East,” former U.S. ambassador to Turkey James Jeffrey said.
Gulen’s followers run publicly-funded science and math-focus charter schools in the United States. By our count, they’ve opened 136 charter schools in 28 states, operating on more than $2.1 billion taxpayer dollars since 2010.
“We need to investigate this movement again first and foremost for what it has attempted to do in Turkey. Secondly, what it is trying to do here in the United States and what laws it may be breaking in the process of doing so,” Jeffrey said.