The Turkish Embassy in the U.S. has launched an investigation into work and travel programs involving Turkish nationals, in response to claims that the programs may be providing financial and employment-related support to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ).
According to a report by Turkey's Foreign Ministry Research and Security Works General Directorate which was sent to local universities titled, "Secret," Turkish nationals who travel to the U.S. through the Work and Travel Program fall into the FETÖ trap. The U.S. State Department grants authorization to the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) and the Center for International Career Development (CICD) as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the city of Portland in Maine and the city of Seattle in Washington to run the program, which brings 5,000 people to the country from Turkey every year. According to the report, both NGOs have no relation to FETÖ. However, these two NGOs conduct visa operations in cooperation with agencies in other countries and those in Turkey, the report claimed, have relations with FETÖ.
Half of the sector is dominated by four firms in Turkey, although there are 150 firms in total. A total of 2,500 of the 5,000 visas that are granted every year are given through United Towers, Armada Grandee and Academix. According to records from the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce, there are FETÖ members among some of the owners or partners of these firms and some of them even fled abroad following the July 15 coup attempt.
With a price tag of 5,000 euros per person, these agencies earn 2,000 euros from every individual. The report claims FETÖ earns at least $10 million dollars through the program in a single year. According to intelligence reports, United Towers has close ties with the FETÖ-linked Gediz and Zirve Universities, which were shut down under in anti-FETÖ operations. It is claimed that the partners of Armada Grandee, Savaş Yüksel, who is supposedly an of the imams of the organization, and Mehmet Yüksel, fled abroad after transferring their shares on the firm.
FETÖ is run by members who are strictly obedient to their leader, Fetullah Gülen, a self-exiled fugitive cleric who has lived in Pennsylvania since 1999. The July 15 coup attempt, perpetrated by FETÖ terrorists in the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), left 249 people dead and over 2,500 wounded.