Turkish Coup and Charter Schools

When Turkish president Erdogan mentioned that the violent attempt at take-over of his country was based out of Pennsylvania, he was referring to Gulen, a Muslim cleric who sought refuge in America, and who had been served an indictment [or subpeona]  by U.S. authorities just a few hours prior to the initiation of the coup in Turkey yesterday, according to reports.

A list of taxpayer funded Charter Schools in America run by this radical Muslim sect can be found here:


Total number of schools currently in operation:  146
Number of states with schools in current operation:   26 + District of Columbia
Number of schools closed / removed from Gulenist control / converted to private*:  9
             *some of these schools may have later been resurrected under a new charter

See footnotes for copied and pasted of full list of schools as of 2011.


This is the description of Gulen from the same websitea:

Who is Fethullah Gulen and
what is the Gulen Movement?

Page created June 9, 2010;  last updated Mar 4, 2012
by C.A.S.I.L.I.P.S. – Citizens Against Special Interest Lobbying in Public SchoolsFethullah Gulen is the most powerful religious leader in Turkey today, even though he lives in Pennsylvania.

Since the 1970s, Gulen and his followers have slowly built up a network of educational institutions, non-governmental organizations and businesses that started in Turkey, spread to Central Asia, and now is entrenched in every continent but Antarctica.  This network is called the Gulen Movement.  It is extremely secretive, and many of its members (the “Gulenists”) and organizations will not even openly admit their affiliation.  Publicly, the Gulen Movement advertises itself as a grassroots volunteer civil society movement that is interested only in humanitarian and educational works.  Its members like to stress that it is loosely organized with no central coordination.  Outside observers have noted, however, that it is in fact hierarchical and authoritarian, and has political, religious and economic goals.  Psychological pressure tactics appear to be used in recruiting young people as members (such tactics are described in these statements of ex-members, in Dutch, on the website of NOVA, a TV news program in the Netherlands.  An English translation can be found here.)

In the 1970s, Gulen’s summer camps, tutoring centers and schools openly taught Islam.  However, in response to repression under Turkey’s secular regime, the educational institutions shifted to curricula that did not overtly include any Islamic teachings.  Outside of Turkey, the network of Gulen schools has been rapidly expanding all over the world, and around 1999 the Gulenists began to establish publicly-funded charter schools in the United States, where they already had a small number of private schools.  Some Gulen schools appear on the surface to be completely secular, yet observers have found that they covertly engage in missionary activities either after hours in school dormitories, or during other extracurricular activities.  In some countries the Gulen schools openly teach and promote religion, and in South Africa a very large school-mosque complex is under development.

Gulen is extremely controversial in Turkey.  He has many devoted followers.  At the same time, many Turks completely mistrust him, and in fact see him as ruining their country.  A number of sharply critical books have been published in Turkish, such as Merdan Yanardag’s “How was Turkey besieged: behind the curtains of the Fethullah Gulen Movement.”  Secularists, who controlled Turkey until recently, mainly through the army, suspect Gulen of a secret Islamist agenda within Turkey.  These suspicions led to Gulen leaving Turkey in 1999 to avoid being charged with trying to promote an Islamic state.

Other Turkish books critical of Gulen’s influence on Turkey and its politics include several by Hikmet Cetinkaya, a columnist for the major national newspaper Cumhuriyet.  The late University of Ankara history professor Necip Hablemitoglu, another highly vocal critic of the Gulen Movement, authored “Kostebek” (“The Mole”), detailing the Gulen Movement’s infiltration of the Turkish police.  Hablemitoglu was assassinated in 2002 and the case has never been resolved; his book was published posthumously.

In September 2010, a respected former police chief named Hanefi Avci wrote a best-selling book about how the Gulen Movement has infiltrated Turkish institutions and stealthily taken over the state.  Not long after this book appeared, Avci was arrested.  It is widely believed that the charges against him are false, and that the underlying reason for the arrest was retaliation for this book.  While opposition to Gulen’s influence is often claimed to be confined to Turkey’s staunchly secular community, concerns appear to be spreading even among people who do not particularly identify with the secularists, and Avci’s arrest in particular, because of his reputation for integrity, seems to have created a great unease.  The arrests on March 3, 2011 of prominent journalists Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener, both of whom had written books about the Gulen Movement’s influence on the state, gave rise tointernational criticism and further deepened suspicions that the Turkish police and judiciary were retaliating against individuals only because they had criticized the Movement.  Justin Vela’s Jan 11, 2012 article in Foreign Policy entitled “Behind Bars in the Deep State” gives an excellent exposition of this, and along with his Dec 29, 2011 eurasianet piece entitled “Has Gulen Movement Replaced Deep State?” are highly recommended reading for anyone seeking to understand the Gulen Movement’s present role in Turkey and the anxiety it inspires in many.

The political situation has changed substantially in Turkey since Gulen relocated to the U.S. in 1999; control of the country has slipped from the military (often referred to as the “secularist” establishment) to the AKP/Gulen Movement nexus.  (The AKP, a.k.a. Justice and Development Party, is the political party in control of Turkey since 2002, headed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.)   While they may ultimately be rivals for control of the country, at present it is not clear that either the Gulen Movement or the AKP can control Turkey without the other’s support.   A series of arrests of high-level military officials in early 2010, along with the successful vote on the constitutional referendum in September 2010, are evidence that the AKP/Gulen alliance has firmly solidified its control of Turkey.  Further arrests and resignations in 2011 and 2012 confirmed this beyond any doubt.

Despite this fact, and despite Gulen’s acquittal of all charges back in 2006, Gulen remains in Pennsylvania, where he appears to lead an extremely reclusive life.  In 2008, the Department of Homeland Security tried to deny Gulen a green card, but a number of his American supporters, including former Rand Corporation and CIA official Graham Fuller, wrote letters on his behalf, and Gulen prevailed.

Gulen and his schools have been controversial not only in Turkey, but also in Central Asia, Europe, and now theUnited States as well.

A good introduction to the Gulen Movement can be found in an article by Tim Steller of the Arizona Daily Star, April 25, 2010: “Gulen movement an enigmatic mix of Turkish nationalism, religion, education.”  Steller offers some additional information on the Gulen movement in an article on a chain of Gulen schools that appeared in the same edition of this Arizona newspaper.

Another excellent source of information on the business/economic and political activities of the Gulen Movement is the 2009 PhD thesis of Joshua David Hendrick, University of California, Santa Cruz.  Aydin Ozipek’s 2009 thesis from Central European University, freely available for download at this link, is also worthwhile reading, particularly for its explanation of the economic factors leading individuals to join the Gulen Movement.

Goals of the Gulen Movement

Page created June 2010; last updated Sep 2013

What exactly does the Gulen Movement hope to accomplish by establishing organizations and schools in over a hundred countries around the world?

What is the purpose of the 140 charter schools that the movement is running in the United States?

What does the Gulen Movement hope to accomplish inside Turkey?

These questions have been difficult to answer mainly because the Gulen Movement goes to great lengths to disguise its goals.  Gulenists would like their movement to be seen as a civic movement, or social movement.  They prefer this description because it minimizes controversy.

Outside observers, however, have noted that the movement appears to have political, religious and economic goals.

STRATFOR Global Intelligence Special Report, Aug 23, 2010
“Islam, Secularism and the Battle for Turkey’s Future”
“Inside Turkey, the Gulen Movement follows a determined agenda that aims to replace the Kemalist elite and transform Turkey into a more religiously conservative society.  Outside Turkey, Gulen presents itself as a multifaith global organization working to bring businesses, religious leaders, politicians, journalists and average citizens together.  Whatever its public relations moves, the Gulen movement is at base just one more player jockeying for power in Turkey.”

Irish Times Jan 28, 2010  Ethiopian schools put Turkey on curriculum
“Hakan Yavuz, a Turkish professor at the University of Utah, who has co-edited a book on the Gulen phenomenon, describes the movement as the most powerful force in Turkey and says its main goal has been the ‘Islamisation’ of Turkish society.”    …..   “’When the schools became successful, they decided to expand them and use them to generate international legitimacy [by stressing] that they are not Islamic but rather humanitarian with the purpose of building bridges across different cultures.’  …..  Yavuz argues that there is a wider agenda as manifested by its increasingly global reach. …..  ‘The movement, which is rooted in selective vision of the glorious Ottoman past, has its own imperial vision of turning Turkey into a global power,’ he says.”

Ozge Girit Heck’s 2011 doctoral thesis from the University of Iowa included a study of the Gulen-affiliated Chicago Turkish World Festival, for which she interviewed both Kemal Oksuz and Hakan Berberoglu of the (Gulenist) Niagara Foundation.  Heck noted that “With the support of the AKP government, the Gulen Movement hopes to spread this view of a social conservatism… The organizers of the festival, Hakan and Kemal, openly advocated for a more conservative Turkish culture that supported traditional Turkish values and embraced an Ottoman-Islamic vision of society.”

A 2008 Reuters article entitled “Turkish Islamic preacher – threat or benefactor?” quoted Hakan Yavuz, a political scientist at the University of Utah, on the Gulen Movement: “It is a political movement … and it has always been political.  They think power is very important.  They want to train an elitist class which will then turn Turkey into a centre of the religious world, Islamise the country.”

In his 2009 Master’s Thesis in Anthropology at the University of Arizona, Ufuk Coskun noted that “There also seems to be some truth to secularists’ claims that the Gulen movement is attempting to infiltrate Turkish government offices, in order to gain influence.”

Bayram Balci’s article “Fethullah Gulen’s Missionary Schools in Central Asia and their Role in the Spreading of Turkism and Islam” (Religion, State and Society, Vol. 31 No. 2, 2003) describes the secretively missionary nature of the Gulen Movement’s schools in the former Soviet republics of central Asia.

Berrin Koyuncu-Lorasdaği (The Prospects and Pitfalls of the Religious Nationalist Movement in Turkey: The Case of the Gülen Movement, Middle Eastern Studies, 46(2):221-234) says “…the Gulen movement basically has two goals. The first concerns raising a new type of generation, a ‘golden generation’ of modern Muslims who are deeply spiritual and close to God and equipped with values such as faith, love and a belief in knowledge and science. They will be able to compete scientifically and build a new world by taking account of national and global developments. ….  The second goal of the movement based on educational activities is a global intention to introduce the long history of Turkish culture to the world and to spread Turkish identity in two ways: firstly, by directing people who live in European countries to raise their children in the ‘Turkish way’, and secondly, by establishing a pan-Turan ethnic politics in Central Asian countries which stresses pride in Turkicness. In short, the aim is to create a morally superior and scientifically competitive Turkic world.”

In his 2009 PhD Thesis “Globalization and Marketized Islam in Turkey: The Case of Fethullah Gulen” (University of California Santa Cruz)  Joshua Hendrick discusses in detail the political and economic goals of the Gulen Movement:

“In addition to regular visits by AKP dignitaries including Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, GM institutions in the US are regular hosts of very influential people in American politics.

“After attending a number of these events a senior confidant of Fethullah Gulen who is a Zaman columnist and original member of the GYV contradicted his friends by explaining, ‘All these activities show that a very powerful Turkish lobby is being established in the US. This new dialogue, which will open a new page in Turkish-US relations, is as important as Turkey’s EU bid.’ ”

In the interests of simultaneously promoting Islam, Turkey, and GM-affiliated Turkish businesses, the Rumi Forum locates sponsors and hosts events that specifically target people of influence in the DC area and among national political representatives.  Its efforts are supported by the efforts of the American Turkish Friends Association (ATFA) in Fairfax, VA; which also works in conjunction with numerous other GM-affiliated institutions from the Istanbul Center in Atlanta, to the Turkish Cultural Center in New York City, to the Niagara Foundation In Chicago.  These institutions, together with Houston’s Institute for Interfaith Dialog, the Raindrop Foundation, and the Gulen Institute, sit at the center of the GM’s American network, and serve as models for new institutions in college towns and major cities around the US.”

Hendrick’s thesis is a very worthwhile read for understanding in detail how the Gulen Movement works towards these goals.

However, the single most perceptive statement about the Gulen Movement’s aims is that of Aydin Ozipek, who wrote in his 2009 thesis: “…the primary objective of the Gulen Movement is to increase its share of power.”


The specific question of how the publicly-funded Gulen charter schools in the United States serve the Gulen Movement’s agenda is addressed here on our companion site.



Arizona  (7)

Management organization: Sonoran Schools
De facto management organization: Accord Institute for Education Research
Charter holder: Daisy Education Corporation*

Arkansas  (2)

De facto management organization: Harmony Public Schools (formerly Cosmos Foundation) http://www.harmonytx.org

California   (11)

De facto management organization: Accord Institute for Education Research

Charter holder: Magnolia Foundation    http://magnoliacharterschools.org/

  1. Magnolia Science Academy 1 – Reseda   http://reseda.magnoliascience.org/
  2. Magnolia Science Academy 2 – Valley  http://valley.magnoliascience.org/
  3. Magnolia Science Academy 3 – Carson – http://gardena.magnoliascience.org/
  4. Magnolia Science Academy 4 – Venice  http://venice.magnoliascience.org/
  5. Magnolia Science Academy 5 – Hollywood   http://hollywood.magnoliascience.org/
  6. Magnolia Science Academy 6 – Palms   http://palms.magnoliascience.org/
  7. Magnolia Science Academy 7 – Van Nuys   http://vannuys.magnoliascience.org
  8. Magnolia Science Academy 8 – Bell  http://bell.magnoliascience.org/
  9. Magnolia Science Academy – San Diego  http://sandiego.magnoliascience.org/
  10. Magnolia Science Academy – Santa Clara   http://santaclara.magnoliascience.org

Charter holder: Willow Education

  1. Bay Area Technology School (Oakland)  http://www.baytechschool.org/j/index.php

Colorado  (1)

De facto management organization: Accord Institute for Education Research

District of Columbia  (1)

Management organization: Harmony Public Schools (formerly Cosmos Foundation)


Organization: Charter Educational Services & Resources http://charterresources.us   formerly Grace Institute for Educational Research and Resources  http://graceschools.us

Georgia   (2)

De facto management organization: Charter Educational Services & Resources   http://charterresources.us formerly Grace Institute for Educational Research and Resources http://graceschools.us

Illinois   (4)

Organization: Concept Schools   http://www.conceptschools.org

Indiana    (3)

Organization: Concept Schools, Inc.  http://www.conceptschools.org

Louisiana   (1)

Charter holder : Pelican Educational Foundation
De facto management organization: Harmony Public Schools (formerly Cosmos Foundation) http://www.harmonytx.org

Maryland   (4)

Charter holder: Chesapeake Lighthouse Foundation  http://www.clfmd.org
De facto management organizations: Washington Educational Foundation http://www.weduf.org  and Apple Educational Services

Massachusetts    (3)

De facto management organization:  Apple Educational Services
http://www.appleeducationalservices.org  or   http://aesny.org

Michigan    (1)

Management organization: Concept Schools  http://www.conceptschools.org

Minnesota   (1)

Management organization: Concept Schools  http://www.conceptschools.org

Missouri    (5)

Charter holder:  Frontier Schools
De facto management organization: Harmony Public Schools (formerly Cosmos Foundation) http://www.harmonytx.org

Management organization: Concept Schools  http://www.conceptschools.org

Nevada    (2)

Charter holder:  Coral Education Corporation
De facto management organization:  Accord Institute for Education Research

New Jersey    (6)

De facto management organization:  Apple Educational Services
http://www.appleeducationalservices.org  or   http://aesny.org

Organization: North Jersey Arts and Science Charter Schools  http://njascs.org

New Mexico     (1)

De facto management organization: Cosmos Foundation/Harmony Public Schools

New York      (4)

De facto management organization:  Apple Educational Services
http://www.appleeducationalservices.org  or   http://aesny.org

North Carolina    (2)

De facto management organizations: Washington Educational Foundation http://www.weduf.org  and  Apple Educational Services

Ohio   (19)

Management organization: Concept Schools  http://www.conceptschools.org

  1. Horizon Science Academy Cincinnati   http://www.horizoncincy.org/
  2. Horizon Science Academy Cleveland   http://www.hsas.org/
  3. Horizon Science Academy Cleveland Middle School    http://www.hsacms.org/
  4. Horizon Science Academy Cleveland Elementary School   http://es.horizoncleveland.org/
  5. Horizon Science Academy Columbus High School   http://www.horizoncolumbus.org/
  6. Horizon Science Academy Columbus Middle School  http://www.horizoncolumbus.org/ms/
  7. Horizon Science Academy Columbus Elementary School   http://es.horizoncolumbus.org/
  8. Horizon Science Academy Dayton Elementary School  http://es.horizondayton.org
  9. Horizon Science Academy Dayton   http://www.horizondayton.org/
  10. Horizon Science Academy Dayton Downtown  http://dt.horizontoledo.org
  11. Horizon Science Academy Denison Middle School   http://www.horizondenison.org/
  12. Horizon Science Academy Denison Elementary School   www.denisonelementary.org/
  13. Horizon Science Academy Lorain   http://www.horizonlorain.org/
  14. Horizon Science Academy Springfield  http://www.horizonspringfield.org/
  15. Horizon Science Academy Toledo  http://www.horizontoledo.org/
  16. Horizon Science Academy Toledo Downtown  http://dt.horizontoledo.org
  17. Horizon Science Academy Youngstown   http://www.horizonyoungstown.org/
  18. Noble Academy-Columbus   http://www.noblecolumbus.org/
  19. Noble Academy-Cleveland   http://www.noblecleveland.org/

Oklahoma    (4)

Charter holder: Sky Foundation
De facto management organization: Harmony Public Schools (formerly Cosmos Foundation) http://www.harmonytx.org

Pennsylvania    (3)

De facto management organization:  Apple Educational Services
http://www.appleeducationalservices.org  or   http://aesny.org

South Carolina  (1)

Tennessee    (1)

De facto management organization: Harmony Public Schools (formerly Cosmos Foundation) http://www.harmonytx.org

Texas     (45)

Charter holder/Management Organization:  Harmony Public Schools (formerly Cosmos Foundation) http://www.harmonytx.org

Austin area

  1. Harmony School of Science – Austin http://hssaustin.org/
  2. Harmony Science Academy – North Austin  http://hsana.org/
  3. Harmony School of Excellence – Austin http://hseaustin.org/
  4. Harmony Science Academy – Austin  http://hsaaustin.org/
  5. Harmony School of Political Science and Communication   http://hspaustin.org


  1. Harmony Science Academy – Brownsville http://hsabrownsville.org/

Dallas area

  1. Harmony Science Academy – Waco   http://hsawaco.org/
  2. Harmony Science Academy – Garland   http://hsagarland.org/
  3. Harmony Science Academy – Dallas  http://hsadallas.org  Elementary  http://hsedallas.org   Middle School http://hsmdallas.org
  4. Harmony School of Innovation – Dallas (formerly Harmony School of Innovation Carrollton) http://hsacarrollton.org/
  5. Harmony School of Business   http://hsbdallas.org

El Paso

  1. Harmony Science Academy – El Paso http://hsaelpaso.org/
  2. Harmony School of Innovation – El Paso http://hsielpaso.org/

Fort Worth area

  1. Harmony Science Academy – Fort Worth http://hsafortworth.org/
  2. Harmony School of Innovation – Fort Worth  http://hsifortworth.org
  3. Harmony Science Academy – Grand Prairie   http://hsagp.org/
  4. Harmony Science Academy – Euless    http://hsaeuless.org/
  5. Harmony School of Nature and Athletics – Dallas  http://hsnature.org/
  6. Harmony School of Innovation Euless   http://www.hsieuless.org

Houston north area

  1. Harmony School of Endeavor – Houston   http://hsendeavor.org/default.asp
  2. Harmony Science Academy – Bryan/ College Station   http://hsabcs.org/
  3. Harmony Science Academy – Houston Northwest  http://hsanw.org/
  4. Harmony School of Excellence – Houston  http://hsehouston.org/
  5. Harmony School of Advancement High  http://hsadvancement.org/
  6. Harmony School of Discovery  http://hsdhouston.org/
  7. Harmony School of Exploration   http://www.hehouston.org

Houston south area

  1. Harmony School of Ingenuity  http://hsingenuity.org/default.asp
  2. Harmony Science Academy – Beaumont   http://hsabeaumont.org/
  3. Harmony Science Academy – Houston  http://hsahouston.org/default.asp
  4. Harmony Science Academy High School – Houston   http://hshigh.org/
  5. Harmony School of Innovation – Houston   http://hsihouston.org/default.asp
  6. Harmony School of Art (and Technology) – Houston  http://hsart.org

Houston west area

  1. Harmony School of Science – Houston   http://hsshouston.org/
  2. Harmony Science Academy – West Houston   http://hsawh.org
  3. Harmony School of Science High – Sugarland   http://hsshigh.org


  1. Harmony Science Academy – Laredo  http://hsalaredo.org/
  2. Harmony School of Innovation – Laredo   http://hsilaredo.org

Lubbock area

  1. Harmony Science Academy – Lubbock   http://hsalubbock.org/
  2. Harmony Science Academy – Odessa   http://hsaodessa.org/

San Antonio area

  1. Harmony Science Academy – San Antonio  http://hsasa.org/
  2. Harmony School of Innovation – San Antonio   http://hsisa.org/

Charter holder: SST Schools (formerly Riverwalk Education Foundation, Inc) http://www.ssttx.org/
De facto management Organization:  Harmony Public Schools (formerly Cosmos Foundation) http://www.harmonytx.org

  1. School of Science and Technology Discovery – Leon Valley http://www.sstdiscovery.org/
  2. School of Science and Technology – San Antonio http://www.ssttx.org/default.asp
  3. School of Science and Technology – Corpus Christi  http://www.sstcc.org/
  4. School of Science and Technology – Alamo  http://www.sstalamo.org/default.asp

Utah     (1)

De facto management organization: Accord Institute for Education Research

Wisconsin      (1)

Management organization:  Concept Schools

Schools closed or removed from Gulenist control

California  (3)


Georgia   (1)

Louisiana   (1)

Maryland  (1)

Minnesota   (1)
Management organization: Concept Schools

Wisconsin   (1)

The following map was made in March 2011; please see this page for more current maps.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.