The U.S. continues to host terrorists, facilitating their panels and seminars where anti-Turkey propaganda is being spread while denying Turkish journalists’ entry into events, preventing the press from doing its work.
On Monday, a panel was organized by the Investigative Journal organization at Washington D.C.’s National Press Center in cooperation with the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ). The panel, titled “Last game of Erdoğan: Turkey’s long hand in Syria and the U.S.,” quickly turned into an anti-Turkey propaganda event with the participation of various figures known for their hostility against Turkey.
The moderator of the panel was a reporter from the Israeli new channel i-24, Tal Heinrich. One of the speakers of the panel was Adam Klasfeld, an American reporter who is known for his coverage of the Halkbank trials in New York and carrying out activities for FETÖ within the scope of uncovering Turkey’s lobbying sources in the U.S. The others were Michael Rubin, a researcher at the American Enterprise Institute, American journalist Theo Padnos and Director of Columbia University’s Peace Building and Human Rights Institute David Philips. One of the most eye-catching points of the panel was, on the other hand, a presentation by Ahmet Sait Yayla, the former chief constable who fled Turkey for having close ties with FETÖ, in which he slandered Turkey for supporting terrorism – an absurd claim for a terrorist group member.
Yet, despite welcoming all those anti-Turkey people in a supposedly pro-press environment, the organizers of the panel did not allow the reporters of Anadolu Agency (AA) to enter. The AA reporters, who had their accreditation days before and received confirmation letters, condemned the move, underlining that their freedom to do their job had been denied. The organizers shamelessly lied to the reporters, claiming that their names were not included in the participant list despite the fact that the reporters showed evidence of accreditation. Following the reporters’ insistence, an organizer finally spoke the truth, telling them, “You’re not wanted here,” without explaining the reasons why. Another surprise for the reporters was the fact that, for the first time, police were present at the National Press Center, where AA’s Washington office is also located. The police also tried to prevent the reporters from doing their work, despite not having the legal right to do so.
Investigative Journal, funded by the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom, is known for its activities targeting Turkey and Qatar. The founder of the organization is Muhammed Fehmi, a former reporter of Al-Jazeera, while one of the main advisers is Abdullah Bozkurt, who is wanted by Turkey for crimes related to FETÖ.
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.
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.
Among the participants of the panel, there was also the Washington representative of the PKK’s Syrian affiliate People’s Protection Units (YPG), Sinem Muhammed, who was spotted chatting with Yayla, another crucial moment proving the cooperation between the two terrorist groups.
The close ties between the two groups, which is based on their anti-Turkey stance, has been uncovered many times before. In one incident, FETÖ members were found in one of the PKK's safe houses and a secret informant revealed that PKK terrorists had been given foreknowledge related to the July 15 coup attempt. In another incident, a lieutenant arrested for links to FETÖ revealed that the group helped him enroll in a military school despite his links to the PKK.