NEW YORK — In a recenteditorial published on May 2, The New York Times took a problematic and discrepant stance toward the Gülen Movement, a controversial organization led by U.S.-based imam Fethullah Gülen who may face extradition charges by the Turkish government for conspiring against the state.
The editorial "Let Mr. Erdoğan Fight His Own Battles" argues that Fethullah Gülen is a modern preacher appealing to "well-educated and professional Turks," whereas previously on June 6, 2011, the New York Times took a critical approach when it put Gülen's charter schools in the U.S. under scrutiny in a comprehensive piece titled "Charter Schools Tied to Turkey Grow in Texas." Referring to the nationwide backlash against Gülenist charter schools for importing staff from Turkey based on H-1B visas, the article touched upon the misuse of taxpayers' money by Gülen schools, through suspicious financial arrangements with Gülenist foundations and companies.
Accordingly, it was highlighted that the U.S. has the most number of Gülenist schools after Turkey, emphasizing the threat it may pose to Americans. Whereas the previous article did not hesitate to refer to the fact that the movement's educational operations have also been criticized for male domination, lack of transparency and forcing staff to tithe a certain amount of their income to the movement, the recent article does not mention any such concerns and seems to almost present Gülen as an innocent preacher who may be facing unjust extradition charges by the Turkish government.
The editorial turns a blind eye to the fact that he and his followers have been attempting to orchestrate a takeover of the Turkish government through the infiltration of key state institutions.
The Gülen Movement's schools have also gained public attention in many parts of the world for the unethical use of public funding they receive from local governments as well as their abuse of special immigration statuses.
As the New York Times points out in their June 6, 2011 article, the Gülen Movement charter schools have become accustomed to issuing contracts from the building and renovation of their schools to clothing and feeding their students to companies within their broad organization, despite their choices carrying a much larger price tag.
The 2011 article in the New York Times cites that in the state of Texas alone the Gülen Movement received over $100 million a year in public funds collected from tax payer dollars.
This same article cites how in 2009, 35 out of 38 contracts issued by their Harmony schools went to associated Turkish contracting companies, resulting in $82 million of public funding going to their associates. This would not be a bad thing if the very same New York Times article cited the movement's affiliated contractors charged rates well above those offered by their competitors and had noted their choice to use their own TDM construction company on a renovation project when a well-known local contractor had undercut TDM by hundreds and thousands of dollars.
The New York Times 2011 article also condemned the Gülen Movement's abuse of immigration laws to obtain H-1B skilled worker visas in Texas, Ohio and Illinois. According to the New York Times, these visas were often handed out in large numbers to unqualified and inexperienced personnel from within their organization. The H-1B visa mandates that its holders earn 30 percent more than their domestic counterparts within the field and according to the research done by the New York Times, their imported work force is earning around half of what their American counterparts earn.
Though the New York Times jumped to defend the Gülen Movement and the controversial imam this past week, the prestigious newspaper's 2011 article painted a much different picture by setting out to expose the movement's unethical profiteering from public funds and their abuse of U.S. immigration practices.
Contributed by Tevhid Nazmi Baştürk