Gulenists, accused of orchestrating coup in Turkey, have been very active in Maine
Fehtullah Gulen, an influential imam who has lived in exile in the Poconos of Pennsylvania for decades, stands accused by Turkey's increasingly autocratic president, Recep Erdogan, of masterminding the recent military coup attempt in Turkey. Gulenists -- followers of Gulen and his Hizmet movement -- are being ejected from their jobs or rounded up by the tens of thousands, from journalists and teachers to military officers and police leaders as Erdogan seeks to snuff out what he calls a "tumor" on his nation.
The essay is a sequel to and update on this Press Herald story I wrote back in 2013, which revealed the Gulenist connections at the first proposed charter school.
Incidentally, I'm a fan of Turkish culture and the impressive cultural legacy of the Ottoman Empire, whose former territories I lived in for most of the 1990s. My most recent story from Turkey was this 1998 travel piece for the Christian Science Monitor from Cappadocia.
I am an award-winning journalist and author of American Nations, American Character, Ocean's End, The Lobster Coast, and The Republic of Pirates. I'm a staffer at the Portland Press Herald, where I won a 2012 George Polk Award for my investigative reporting and was named a 2016 Pulitzer Prize finalist.