A panel of officials and experts on Tuesday speaking at the U.S. Congress concerning the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) defined the terror group as the biggest threat for U.S., as well as for bilateral relations between Ankara and Washington.The panel on Turkey-U.S. cooperation was organized by Turkey's Presidency of Directorate of Communications and was attended by American lawyer Robert Amsterdam, who investigates FETÖ's global activities, Energy and Natural Resources Deputy Minister Alparslan Bayraktar, Counselor of the Presidency Prof. Gülnur Aybet and member of the Security and Foreign Policy Council Prof. Mehmet Akif Kireçci.
Amsterdam said that the Gülenist terrorist group is the biggest terrorist organization operating openly, adding that it manipulates workers and conducts extensive corrupt activities in the U.S. commanded by the managerial staff. He stressed that if the FBI wanted to, it could have brought to light all corruption and crimes the organization has carried out in just months.
FETÖ has a considerable presence abroad, particularly in the U.S., including private schools that serve as a revenue stream for the terror group. The U.S. is home to a large community of Gülenists, including group leader Fetullah Gülen. Gülen has lived in self-imposed exile on a secluded compound in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania since 1999. The United States is the target of most extradition requests. Turkey has sent seven extradition requests for Gülen to Washington but has seen little progress in his extradition. Noting that American politicians still continue to receive bequests from the Gülenist terror group despite being aware that it hurts U.S. law, Amsterdam said Turkey's steps to ensure its security should not be questioned, claiming the U.S. transfers $750 million to FETÖ annually through charter schools linked to the group. The terrorist group, which disguised itself as a charity movement with religious undertones for years, sought to seize power in 2013 with an investigation into people close to the government under the guise of a graft probe. Three years later, it tried to topple the government again with its military infiltrators. The coup attempt in 2016 was ultimately foiled and was followed by a state of emergency. Tens of thousands of people were detained or arrested following the coup attempt. Today, security forces carry out operations against FETÖ almost on a daily basis.
Saying that they conducted in-depth research on FETÖ and on American teachers previously working in the group's schools, Amsterdam pointed out that American authorities ignore the pressure put on those teachers by FETÖ and the unlawfulness. Detailed information regarding corrupt FETÖ activities in the U.S. were shared during the panel. It was underlined that the organization was tendering between its own companies; thus, keeping money for itself and using it later for its own needs.