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US Congress to host Turkey's Public Enemy No.1 Terrorist's Spokesman

The US Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe discussed about Turkey's human rights record following the failed coup in a briefing held in the US Congress with the participation of Y. Alp Aslandogan, a spokesman for the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) which is responsible for the bloody coup attempt.

According to Ragıp Soylu from Daily Sabah, the commission which consist of Congress members and representatives of the executive branch invited Alp Aslandoğan, a Gülen spokesman and his personal translator to the American media, to learn about the attempted military takeover.

Here's full text of the related article of Ragıp Soylu published in Daily Sabah...

US Helsinki Commission prefers Gülen's spokesman to discuss Turkey's coup

The majority of Washington-based Turkey observers agree that Pennsylvania-based cult leader Fetullah Gülen and his disciples were responsible for the failed coup. Clearly, the Turkish public and the government of Turkey are united in that belief. However, many members of the U.S. Congress disagree that Gülenists were involved in the violent attempt.

U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Helsinki Commission, to talk about Turkey on Friday (tomorrow), holding a briefing on Turkey's human rights record following the failed coup. The commission invited Alp Aslandoğan, a Gülen spokesman and his personal translator to the American media, to learn about the attempted military takeover. The commission, consisting largely of Congress members and representatives of the executive branch, aims to monitor human right abuses in Eurasian countries, according to its website.

Of course, there is a certain irony here since seven U.S. Senators and nine Representatives from both the Democratic and Republican parties prefer to listen to a supporter of human rights abuses to learn what really happened in the aftermath of July 15. One could easily hope that honorable U.S. officials would avoid meeting close associates of Turkey's public enemy number one who is accused of orchestrating the bombing of Parliament and attempting to assassinate the president.

Gülen's machinations in the U.S. Congress have been a matter of debate in American media for the last year or so. Last September, the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee hosted a former Turkish police chief and prominent Gülenist, Ahmet Yayla, at their hearing on the coup. Why wouldn't they? For years, Gülen's lobbying arm, the Turkish American Alliance (TAA), has poured in millions of dollars of donations and taken Congress members on all-expense-paid trips. The Gülenist operatives are still spending hours in the corners of the Rayburn House Office Building meeting congressional staffers and influencing them over Turkey. They are clinging to their consistently debunked story, as if they are the representatives of a moderate religious group and the government is the extremist.

Rep. Chris Smith (R-Hamilton, N.J.), the chairman of the Helsinki Commission, is no stranger to Gülen's cult. Gülen's followers have a substantial presence in New Jersey with schools, businesses and residents. Smith submitted a speech praising Gülen and denouncing President Tayyip Erdoğan's moves against the group. He described Gülen's movement as a moderate, Islamic civic movement dedicated to promoting education in his remarks to the U.S. Congress one day prior to the coup, while international media outlets have used these adjectives for the group: "secretive" (Foreign Policy magazine), "shadowy" (The Economist), "opaque" (Los Angeles Times) and "insidious" (Wikileaks cables).

Committee Co-Chairman Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) was among the people who have provided support to Gülenists. Wicker is a regular speaker at TAA hosted events, and he was also a co-signatory of a Gülen-sponsored letter addressed to Sec. John Kerry in 2015. American media previously reported that Gülenists also regularly donate to his campaign.

We don't know yet how this attitude will play with President-elect Donald Trump's pick for National Security adviser, Mike Flynn, since he believes Gülen and his movement are a terror network that undermines Turkish national security, a crucial member of NATO.

These kinds of scandalous decisions only feed the Turkish public's mistrust of American politicians. It is also a reminder for Turkish-Americans that they still fail to reach out to U.S. Congressmen even in their home districts, such as New Jersey. It will take years for the Turkish-American community to make such inroads with conversations with American politicians about Turkey and its significance. But by then it will be too late.

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