Gülenists rule Pennsylvania town, irking locals

Published 04.07.2018 00:31

Saylorsburg, a small town in rural Pennsylvania, United States, is home to Turkey's most wanted man. Fetullah Gülen, leader of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) which was behind the July 15, 2016 coup attempt as well as other crimes, resides in the Golden Generation retreat owned by a foundation run by the terrorist group. Having a foreign terror suspect already bothers locals but some claim Gülenists were given a free rein in the town where they are aided by one of their own: contractor Howard A. Beers.

David Bonser, a 72-year-old ranch owner, says Gülenists had privileges when it comes to building and construction permits. Bonser told Anadolu Agency (AA) that it took him two years to receive permits to build a small office in his ranch but Gülenists easily built roads and buildings in the area quickly without permits. Bonser said commercial relations of Gülenists were not properly inspected and he did not know what kind of relationship they had with the town's administrators. Bonser said Beers built a lot of buildings in FETÖ's compound and earned a lot from the Gülenists.

John Favere, who runs a cleaning business, says Beers had close relations with Gülenists and traveled multiple times to Turkey on trips whose expenses were covered by Gülen. Like Bonser, he says one needs to be "close to Gülen" to receive building permits, "because he runs the town," he says. Favere says Gülenists often purchased new properties and paid in cash for their takeover of the town. "The real question is how much they pay to America and politicians?" he added.

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