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FETO: A Global Criminal Empire

In the United States, FETO – thanks to relaxed regulatory control – takes advantage of the ‘charter school’ program that allows educational institutions to pursue their own academic goals. As of August 2016, the organization is estimated to own and operate several hundred charter schools around the country. Although FETO operatives present themselves as peaceful educators in public, the charter school network actually facilitates the use of taxpayer dollars to sponsor Fethullah Gülen’s activities.

An estimated 50 percent of each taxpayer dollar provided by the government to FETO charter schools is used to cover visa application costs for Gülenists coming to the United States as ‘teachers’ – including English instructors. The organization has been violating immigration laws so systematically that FETO charter schools in 2009 had more H1B visas approved than Google. In return for an opportunity to live and work in the United States, Fethullah Gülen’s followers agree to a form of indentured servitude, whereby they agree to ‘mandatorily donate’ a share of their income to the network. To embezzle taxpayer money, FETO disproportionately hires Turkish contractors for contract work and pays Turkish employees significantly more than U.S. citizens.

This financial power translates into political capital as policy makers at various levels of the U.S. government are treated to expensive international trips, campaign donations and volunteer services – which makes decision makers unwilling to sever their ties with the cult.

In 2015, a USA Today investigation revealed that FETO had secretly funded up to 200 trips for members of Congress and staff to Turkey since 2008. The newspaper also discovered that the group was using proxies to make campaign contributions to individuals running for public office in an effort to secure their loyalty. Many contributors who participated in the scheme, USA Today found, had modest incomes and no knowledge of the candidates they were supporting – including whether they were men or women. Although the United States remains FETO’s nerve center, the organization implements the same model around the world to buy influence, recruit new members and keep growing.


The botched coup d’état of 15 July was not the first attempt of the Gülenists on the state and the legitimate government, but the last and most daring. Considering himself strong enough to overtake the system, FETO/PSS made its first coup attempt in February 2012. The Gülenist prosecutors tried to arrest the Chief of the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) Hakan Fidan due to his involvement in the efforts to peacefully resolve the Kurdish issue. Gülenists tried to sack Hakan Fidan with accusations amounting to treachery. The real reason behind this attempt was to prevent the settlement of Turkey’s long-lasting Kurdish Issue through dialogue and negotiation. Their attempt failed, but the Turkish Government had to postpone what was called the “Peace Process” for another year.

The Government’s decision in 2013 to restructure the university prep schools/tutoring centers, many of which were the main source of finance and recruitment for FETO/PSS, and to make them more accountable and transparent was another turning point. Given that an accountable and transparent system of private schools would mean a harsh blow to FETO/PSS’s human resources, the organization started a sinister campaign to topple the government with the hope of securing its financial resources and recruitment centers.

A series of fraudulent investigations against government officials, politicians and businessmen based on illegal wiretaps and fabricated evidence were then launched. Anyone who voiced concerns or revealed information about FETO/PSS was subjected to prosecution by judges, prosecutors and police officers loyal to Gülen. The main purpose of the campaign was to defame the government and intimidate policy makers in an attempt to guarantee the survival of FETO/PSS members in critical positions at different levels.

After the failed “civilian” coup d’état of 17-25 December 2013, the Government intensified the struggle against FETO/PSS and resolved to completely rout out this structure from the state institutions. The steps that were taken dealt a big blow to FETO/PSS and some of its members either fled the country or faced serious criminal charges. Thus they had lost considerable credibility and legitimacy in the eyes of the Turkish public before the 15 July attempt.

Written by Coup Facts:

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