US congressman shows FETÖ there’s a price to voicing anti-Turkish rhetoric

Published 18.06.2017 22:38
Updated 19.06.2017 02:36

U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce has received thousands of dollars from Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ)-linked think tanks and nongovernmental organizations (NGO), a Turkish media report claimed Sunday. Royce, who has been the most vocal in slamming Ankara over the recent incident between presidential guards and terror sympathizers in Washington, was given thousands of dollars by FETÖ-linked think tanks and NGOs, according to a report in Turkish-language newspaper Sabah.

The report claimed that FETÖ-linked NGOs such as the Rumi Forum and Interfaith Dialogue Institute funded Royce's election campaigns, according to information from public sources. Also, the Rumi Forum hosted politicians from Royce's team in Turkey. Having been in close contact with FETÖ for a while, Royce made anti-Turkey statements after the brawl in Washington, saying "The U.S. should stop selling arms to Turkey." The senator also said that Turkey was allegedly drifting away from democracy. The senator called the provocation by PKK sympathizers in front of the Turkish Embassy in Washington "a peaceful demonstration."

Also in March, a prominent FETÖ figure, Süleyman Turhanoğulları, posted a photo on Twitter with Royce, saying that they discussed "various world issues." Turhanoğulları posted the photo under the Estopinan Group, a political consultation group linked to FETÖ.

A documentary film project focusing on FETÖ's network of charter schools in the United States exposed a list of high-level U.S. officials who went on trips to Turkey between 2006 and 2013 that were reportedly funded by FETÖ.

The list exposed by the film "Killing Ed" showed senators, congressmen, mayors, police officials and other officials, including U.S. Senator Richard Lugar (Indiana) and Governor Bill Richardson (New Mexico), who visited Turkey. The trips, which reportedly cost about $15,000-$30,000 per person, were funded by Gülenist groups in the U.S.

Although politicians are obliged to report any sorts of donations received to U.S. authorities, "Killing Ed" claims that these trips were not deemed as donations, but rather were classified as friendship gestures or educational activities.

FETÖ's interest in U.S. politicians through providing funds is not something new. American media outlets published investigative reports prior to the U.S. elections last year, showing that FETÖ members donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and to her family's charity.

An investigation by the Daily Caller, a staunchly conservative news website, claimed that the Clintons have received millions from FETÖ members and that the funds have been spread among Clinton's presidential and senate campaigns, the Clinton Foundation and Global Initiative, speaking engagements and "Hillary Clinton's top lobbyist bundlers" like the Podesta Group.

The news website claimed the largest donation came from Recep Özkan, the former president of the FETÖ-linked Turkish Cultural Center. Özkan gave between $500,001 and $1,000,000 to the Clinton Foundation in recent months, the charity's website shows.

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