The joint investigation by USA TODAY and the Center for Public Integrity found that 151 state and federal lawmakers from 29 states, including Tennessee, took trips to Turkey between 2006 and 2015 that were financed by nonprofit organizations linked to the movement led by Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen.
Gulen lives in Pennsylvania, and the Turkish government has sought his extradition, which has yet to be granted by the U.S. government.
In addition to opposition to the current Turkish government, the Gulen movement has been accused of trying to sway legislation and opinion and in the United States regarding charter schools. The USA TODAY and CPI investigation found that some lawmakers filed legislation in support of charter schools.
One former and two current Tennessee lawmakers are among more than 150 lawmakers from across the United States who traveled to Turkey on trips funded by a Turkish opposition group that the country’s government blames for an attempted coup attempt last year, according to a joint investigation by USA TODAY and the Center for Public Integrity.
Current Democratic Reps. Antonio Parkinson and Johnnie Turner, both of Memphis, said they had no knowledge that the trips were funded by organizations tied to Turkish opposition Gulen and Hizmet movements. But former state Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, said he knew well that Gulen funded the trip he took with 100 others to a conference about four years ago.
Officials from the state’s Homeland Security office were also on the trip, Parkinson said. Campfield also said officials from Homeland Security were on the trip he attended.
State DHS officials were among Democrats and Republicans taking trips funded by a terror-linked imam whose operations are under FBI investigations in at least 4 states. WTF?
What are the chances these Texas teachers and Obama’s Muslim envoy took Gulen-paid trips to Turkey too?
More on the Gulen criminal enterprise here, including this gem: