Gulen's American Empire

Gulen's American Empire
Gulen Empire map from Turkish Newspaper. DISCLAIMER: If you find some videos are disabled this is the work of the Gulen censorship who have filed fake copyright infringement reports to UTUBE

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Gulen private school Putnam Academy of Science to close

WFSB 3 Connecticut PUTNAM, CT (WFSB) - Faculty and students at a private academy are in shock after the trustees of the Putnam Science Academy decide to close the acclaimed school temporarily. The school needs millions of dollars to upgrade the aging infrastructure and to build a new dorm, so they've decided to close for two years. A spring shocker for many of the 115 students who attend the privately run, Putnam Science Academy. After a successful 12-year climb of academic and athletic accomplishments, the school will temporarily close in May for two years. Its board of trustees said they need the time to raise money and make necessary renovations. "We didn't know this was coming. I wanted to continue my 4 years here," Bilal Aksoi, who is a sophomore at Putnam Science Academy, said. On Friday, trustees of the Wellspring Cultural and Educational Foundation notified all the students, parents and faculty with a letter explaining their plans. "Our current facilities are not meeting improved demands and this has been one of the major challenges in our student recruitment and satisfaction," the letter stated. Basketball coach Tom Espinosa led the school's Mustangs team to be in the top 10 nationally. Now he has a new challenge. "We'll see what happens. I got some options out there you know. I gotta think what I want to do," Espinosa said. Principal Giray Gebes gave Eyewitness News a tour of the campus, which was originally the Putnam Catholic Academy. The building, according to Gebes, is showing its age. The science lab needs work as does the infrastructure of the 52-year-old building. Besides that, they need improved dorms for the national and international students living there, many of Turkish decent. "Our students at the moment are living in a dorm five to six learns are living in the same room which is not good," Gebes said. Even seniors who are graduating in May want to start the fundraising campaign now so the school can reopen again. "On paper its temporary. But you know like lots of things, we'll get there, we'll get there two years, oh we're going to need another year to rebuild until everyone forgets," student government president Hacibey Catalbasoglu said. "I think if we put in enough effort going through donations and charity funds foundations, I think we could find the money to keep the school alive," Burak Eraslan, who is a senior at Putnam Science Academy, said. May 29 is the last day of school, the students have started their own fund drive on To donate, click here. Read more:

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Gulen Albuquerque School of Excellence New Mexico - racial slurs

Gulen Albuquerque School of Excellence Racial Slurs from Gulen Fraud on Vimeo.
ALBUQUERQUE) – Offensive behavior in an Albuquerque classroom has a parent fuming after he says his black son was called the “N” word over and over again and a school official knew about the incident but didn’t call him. The entire incident was recorded on camera by the student making the offensive remarks inside a classroom at the Albuquerque School of Excellence, a charter school. School officials said he is a middle school student.

The entire video, which lasted 46 seconds long, was filled with racist remarks. One parent said the remarks would soon get personal. “Look at that organic n***** right there. That is an organic n******. That n***** is organic. Look at that organic n*****. That’s an organic n*****, yes he is,” the student said. The video was uploaded to social media in January. A parent of another student in the classroom saw it and reported it to a school official in February. However, the parent of the boy who appeared to be targeted in the video didn’t hear about it until this week. Terrence said it wasn’t school officials that called him. Instead, he had to hear about from the parent who reported the incident and he watched the video Monday night. “We were shocked, we could not believe what we saw,” Terrence said. School officials said the students all said they were goofing off and not one said it was bullying. They said the student behind the camera was disciplined and his parents were called. However, Dean of Elementary Krisiti Del Curto said there was never made any contact with the other parents. “The parents were not called because it was not seen as a bullying incident,” Del Curto said. Terrence said it was bullying and this is what his son told him. “He literally said, ‘I wanted to pretend like it didn’t happen. I didn’t know what to say, how to act, or what to do,’ ” Terrence said. Terrence said he’s most upset that school officials did not call him. He said he thinks this could have been a good teaching opportunity.

The school would not elaborate on the discipline the student faced. However, they did say that if a situation like this arises again, they will call the parents of all children involved immediately. School officials said an assistant principal took the report in February. However, the principal said he didn’t see the video until this week. School officials say initially it was not considered bullying, but after an interview with KRQE, they said it was. Del Curto said the teacher in the classroom did not hear the racist remarks. The school said they do have anti-bullying assemblies for students and staff.

MEANWHILE Gulen Lobbying for Azerbaijan is engulfing the state of New Mexico
NMSU Signs Affiliation Agreement with Azerbaijan Organization By cmenking | Published January 16, 2015 On Friday, January 9, NMSU hosted visitors representing the Association of the Friends of Azerbaijan (AFAZ). Visiting were Mr. Kemal Oksuz, President of AFAZ, and Dr. Resul Aksoy. DSCN0632 President Carruthers, Senator Papen,

AFAZ President Kemal Oksuz signing the agreement. A signing Ceremony was held in President Carruthers’ office where he and Mr. Oksuz a general affiliation agreement between NMSU and AFAZ,and a more specific agreement for NMSU to participate in a the Baku Summer Energy School. Sponsored by Exxon Mobil and other organizations, the summer school is an annual two-week certificate program held in July in Baku, Azerbaijan.

It brings together world-renowned scholars, academicians and policy makers to examine and gain a better understanding of global energy and environment issues and their practical application. The agreement between NMSU and AFAZ provides nearly full scholarships for six fortunate NMSU students with a focus on petroleum topics. In the weeks ahead a website will be established where NMSU students, as well as UNM and New Mexico Tech students, can apply for participation in the program.

The College of Engineering and the Office of Education Abroad will both collaborate on this effort. For application information visit this webpage. DSCN0633 L-R: Resul Aksoy, Pres. Carruthers, Senator Papen, Provost Dan Howard, Pres. Aksuz, Assoc. Provost Cornell Menking This development is part of a deepening relationship between officials from the State of New Mexico and Eurasian countries.
Senator Mary Kay Papen has been working with the Turquoise Council of Americans and Eurasians on strengthening ties between Turkey and Azerbaijan. Last Spring Associate Provost for legislators — International and Border Programs Cornell Menking travelled to those countries with her and three other state Representative Lee Cotter, Senator John Woods, and Senator Mark Moore


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Coral Science Academy in Henderson, Nevada (Las Vegas) looks to expand despite complaints from neighbors If you are in the Las Vegas, NV area call the Board of Education and voice your concern about the "so called" waiting list and the ties to the Gulen Movement.
In 2013 in the usual "Gulen" con game they infiltrated the local FBI office and the Prinicipal got an award. Rest assured the FBI is watching them from the inside as well as the outside.
HERE THE GULEN MOVEMENT IS WITH HARRY REID THEY HAVE BEEN LOADING MONEY INTO HIS POCKETS FOR OVER 3 YEARS. KEMAL OKSUZ THE FAMOUS GULENIST IS IN THE PHOTO MEANWHILE IN THEIR RENO, NEVADA CAMPUS THEY ARE LOOKING TO MOVE THE HIGH SCHOOL TO A STATE OF THE ART FACILITY. MAYBE THE BRIBES TO HARRY REID ARE PAYING OFF. The Coral Academy of Science is making plans to move its high school students to a new facility in Reno. The expansion is aimed at providing more opportunities for students in the science industry. Right now there are more than 400 students on the waiting list to get into the Coral Academy of Science schools. Administrators say by expanding into a new building, the STEM high school could open up many more doors for kids here, and could improve our workforce. The new high school will be expanding into the former Mutual of Omaha Bank along Neil Road. Executive Director Feyzi Tandogan says right now construction is being done to put in several high tech labs. “State of the art biology lab, state of the art chemistry lab, state of the art physics lab and computer lab." Other lab departments include a technology and engineering room, along with 15 additional AP classes. The price tag for the 5 star school is more than $1.3 million. Teachers say it's going to help prepare students for our growing tech workforce. "The workforce today demands people that are problem solvers and people that are equipped to use technology and things like that,” said Andrew Highison. We're also told the school is working closely with tech leaders, including reaching out to Tesla to find out what kids need to do to be ready for jobs in the industry. "It's going to be a good project for high school students and Tesla is going to be happy because of the Coral Academy of Science High School,” said Tandogan. We talked to Kripash, Lillian and Neha, three students who currently attend Coral Academy. They are part of the high school robotics team and have competed on the state level. They told Channel 2 News, with the opening of a new high school in the horizon, they want to take their work to the next level. "We're going to have a lot more time to work on the robot at school and more equipment to do so,” said Lillian McIntyre. Kripash Shrestha says he's optimistic the team will also do better in training and technology to get them ready for competitions. "I think next, we will win state championship and we'll go to Super Regional's and maybe qualify for Worlds,” said Shrestha. Classes at the new high school will serve 300 high school students next year, increasing to 400 the following year. Coral Academy of Science started opened up in 2000 with only about 40 students and have expanded a lot since then. Right now there are around 970 students who attend the elementary, middle and high schools. Since a new high school is opening up, there will be a shift of students in the other schools, which will open up more spots in all grade levels up to 1,400 students. Construction is expected to be done by mid-June and the new high school is slated to open up August 10th, 2015. For more information or to fill out an application, click here:

Gulen charter school in Ohio sued by former employee for discrimination

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Gulen "inspired" school Quest Academy loses connection to Concept Schools

By Pam Adams of the Journal Star
Posted Jan. 22, 2015 @ 10:15 pm

PEORIA — The board of Quest Charter Academy will cut ties with Concept Schools, the not-for-profit charter-school management company that has run Peoria’s public charter school since it opened in 2010.
Board members disclosed the decision during a regular board meeting Thursday in which they also announced they’ve reached a tentative agreement with Peoria School District 150 to extend the school’s charter for another five years.
Tom Fliege, vice president of the charter school board, said the two actions were not related.
Concept’s contract with Quest’s governing board, the Peoria Charter School Initiative, expires July 30. The decision not to renew the contract was not motivated by finances or the FBI investigation of the Des Plaines-based company’s handling of federal money for school technology improvements, according to Fliege.
Instead, the charter school board has always planned to eventually take over school operations, he said.
“There’s no acrimony, this was mutually agreed upon. We’ll continue to work together as the contract comes to a close.”
Concept staff, which includes Quest Principal Ali Kuran, will help with the transition. The board has tentatively selected an interim executive director, who also will help with the transition, until an executive director is hired.
Details of the tentative agreement to extend the charter school contract will be released at District 150’s board meeting Jan. 26. District 150 board members are scheduled to vote on the contract Feb. 9. Quest board members will take a vote at a special meeting that has yet to be announced. Both boards must approve the final agreement.
“As is true with any agreement, they’re not totally happy, we’re not totally happy,” Fliege said.
The charter school board wanted more money from District 150, while the district maintained it was not fair for Quest to expect more money because the school district’s revenues are declining.
The charter school board had refused District 150’s last counterproposal. Apparent delays in negotiations prompted Quest board members to discuss the administrative process for closing the school.
But negotiations started moving, according to Fliege, when he and Quest board member Will Ball began meeting with Debbie Wolfmeyer and Linda Butler, the District 150 board’s president and vice president, respectively.
Initially, board members were not fully aware that the charter school board had to have negotiations completed within a specific time frame, according to Fliege. He complimented Wolfmeyer and Butler for “having the courage” to resolve the issue.
Also, for the second time, the charter school board tabled a proposal to partner with Peoria Heights High School to offer football for Quest High School students.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Gulen "Inspired" Syracuse Academy of Science, the connections to Gulen are undeniable

A Turkish religious and social movement is behind one of the best schools in Syracuse.


In the second part of a New Times examination of the Syracuse Academy of Science Charter School, reporter Ed Griffin-Nolan describes how Turks inspired by Fethullah Gülen have created a highly regarded charter school.
Editor’s note
“Charter Flight,” the cover story for the Oct. 16-23 issue, told the story of the Syracuse Academy of Science Charter School. SAS stands out in two significant ways: 1) minority students perform better on state tests than their white classmates do, which runs counter to most urban public schools; 2) the leadership of the school rests in the hands of men of Turkish origin, many of whom have been influenced by or admire Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish imam who has resided in Pennsylvania’s Pocono mountains since 1999.
In subsequent months, the New Times has been examining the links between SAS and the Gülen movement. The results of our reporting appear below.
The Syracuse Academy of Science Charter School (SAS) has for 10 years had one of the highest-performing student bodies in Central New York, boasting impressive test scores and college acceptance rates for its high school on Park Street.
Students inside a classroom in the Syracuse Academy of Science Charter School.
Michael Davis Photo | Syracuse New Times
Hundreds of parents enter their children to compete in an annual lottery to obtain one of the coveted spots at the academy. SAS students focus on science and math, win awards at international academic competitions, conduct research in conjunction with area scientists, study Turkish and travel to Turkey and other foreign lands.
The SAS model, which includes longer school days and extended summer classes, with no unions to please, might provide the answer to one of the most pressing problems locally and nationally: how to address lower-than-average academic achievement among poor and minority urban students.
That model owes a great deal to a social movement founded by a Turkish Islamic religious leader, Fethullah Gülen, who for the past 15 years has inspired and led his followers around the globe from his home in exile, a retreat house just a few hours south of Syracuse, in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains.
The founders and leaders of SAS are, for the most part, Turkish immigrant men influenced, to varying degrees, by Gülen’s worldwide network. That network includes more than a thousand schools, media outlets, a trade federation, banks  and more, according to Joshua Hendrick, of Loyola University Maryland, in Baltimore, who has studied the Gülen phenomenon extensively. He wrote Gülen: The Ambiguous Politics of Market Islam in Turkey and the World, NYU Press, 2013.
The movement, known by its Turkish name “cemaat” (community) or “hizmet” (service), is all but unknown in Syracuse, yet it currently sits at the center of a scandal and power struggle that is rocking Turkey. In recent months, the Turkish government has been closing Gülen schools in Turkey, and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan has asked the U.S. government to extradite Gülen, the man he considers his chief nemesis.
For some people, any discussion of an ethnic or religious group, especially a secretive Muslim group, invites suspicion. Nothing in our reporting suggests any association with Islamic extremism; nor have we found any evidence of religious proselytizing at the school.
The Gülen phenomenon is as complicated as it is novel, and an open-minded reader will find many questions and no easy answers in this story.
“Gülen,” writes Stephen Kinzer in the April 18, 2013, edition of Time, “is a man of mystery. His influence in his native Turkey is immense, exercised by graduates of his schools who have reached key posts in the government, judiciary and police. This makes him seem like a shadowy puppeteer, and he is scorned by almost as many Turks as love him.”
In that same issue of Time, in which Gülen was selected as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, Kinzer describes Gülen as “the most potent advocate of moderation in the Muslim world.”
Gülen-inspired charter schools like SAS are not religious schools. Rather, they focus on the sciences, consistent with Gülen’s preaching – an offshoot of the teachings of the Turkish Kurd Said Nursi, which postulates that knowledge of God emerges from knowledge of the world. Gülen followers run private schools around the world, but only in the United States, with the growth of the charter school movement, have they been able to operate schools with public money.
Most, if not all, of the key players at SAS have links to Gülen-infuenced schools and institutions, yet they deny any organic connection to Gülen.
Hayali assisting students with schoolwork. Michael Davis Photo | Syracuse New Times.
Hayali assisting students with schoolwork.
Michael Davis Photo | Syracuse New Times.
Tolga Hayali, 40, of Fayetteville, was principal of SAS Junior/Senior High School until last year. He holds the title of superintendent of three schools: SAS, the Utica Academy of Science and the SAS elementary school, in Syracuse. He and his colleagues envision their chain of schools extending across Upstate New York. When first asked about the predominance of Turkish natives among the school’s leaders, Hayali dismissed it as a coincidence having to do with a large influx of tailors to the Rochester area decades back.
Fehmi Damkaci, chair of SAS’s board of trustees and an associate professor of chemistry at the State University College at Oswego, deflected the question in a similar manner, attributing the large number of Turkish staff to the availability in the U.S. of Turkish students with advanced degrees in science.
Damkaci was educated in Turkey at Gülen-affiliated institutions, a trajectory familiar to Hendrick and other students of the hizmet. Damkaci began his career teaching at the Yamanlar School, in Izmir, Turkey, which Hendrick calls the model for Gülen’s network of schools worldwide. In Turkey, the schools, tutoring institutes, and related dormitories are the prime source of recruits for Gülen, whose followers number in the millions.
Hayali, Swiss-born son of Turkish parents, was given his start in the charter school movement by Ehat Ercanli, who began a charter school in Cleveland in 1999 that grew into Concept Schools, which runs 30 schools in four states. Ercanli, a professor of electrical engineering at Syracuse University and the founder of SAS, declined to speak with the New Times.
The Syracuse Academy of Science shares characteristics, personnel, vendors, philosophy and practices with more than 130 Gülen-inspired charter schools in 26 states. Consider:
Outside view of the Syracuse Academy of Science Charter School.
Michael Davis Photo | Syracuse New Times
– SAS, unique among Central New York schools, imports teachers and other staff, most of them of Turkish origin.
– SAS hires contractors and subcontractors, many of them Turkish, used by Gülen-inspired private and charter schools around the country. This practice has drawn criticism from auditors at the state Comptroller’s Office.
– SAS hires many staff members who have worked at either Gülen-inspired charter schools or Gülen-affiliated private schools or organizations.
SAS officials adamantly deny any connection to the Gülen movement. “The only network we belong to is the charter schools movement,” says Hayali.


SAS is the only school in Onondaga County to hire immigrant workers as teachers, administrators and staff. Since its founding in 2003, SAS has filed petitions for as many as 38 H1B visas for foreign-born teachers and other personnel. Under U.S.  immigration law, H1B visas are for “people who wish to perform services in a specialty occupation.”
Hayali says that the total number of visas includes “new applications, subsequent renewals, denials … as well as required applications for current visa holders who have experienced position changes.” Hayali said that 96 percent of its staff is “local to the greater Syracuse area.” As of February, four of the 115 staff at SAS held H1B visas.
Damkaci said the school imports teachers due to a shortage of qualified math and science teachers in Central New York. “We have high standards, especially in science and math,” Damkaci says. “Of maybe 100 people on staff, the number on visa is maybe five or eight.”
As with an increasing number of Turkish-run charter schools across the nation, most of those teachers on visa are not just from abroad, but are of Turkish origin; 36 of the 38 H1B applications for SAS were for individuals from Turkey. The applications, Hayali says, represent the hiring of 15 teachers; some of the applications were for renewals or position changes.
“We are looking for quality,” says Damkaci. “We know how to recruit. Our goal is to bring in the best teacher regardless of their race, nationality, or gender.” It’s not unusual to have such a large percentage of Turkish teachers at the school, he says. “It’s like the math faculty (at a university). We know that Indians are really good at math. I don’t think this is too different.”
“Finding a math or science teacher,” says Damkaci, “is a nationwide problem.”
President Barack Obama acknowledged as much in 2012, when he proposed an $80 million program to recruit and prepare 10,000 teachers in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.
But locally, this hasn’t been an issue. The Syracuse City School District has never seen the need to recruit internationally. School administrators countywide contacted for this story said they had never needed to import teachers from abroad, even in the STEM areas.
Damkaci told the New Times that when SAS was hiring for its new school in Utica, which opened in September, it received 300 applications for about 10 positions.
SAS has not only applied for visas for math and science teachers. In 2011, the school sought H1B status for its director, curriculum coordinator, instructional coordinator in foreign languages, instructional technology coordinator and an IT administrator. In 2007, the school applied for a visa for a sociology teacher, and in 2009, for a psychology teacher; both were from Turkey.
In 2013, the school applied for a visa for a physical education teacher.
Is there a shortage of gym teachers in Syracuse.
“Not that I’m aware of,” says Kevin Ahern, a former teacher who worked in the Syracuse schools and is president of the Syracuse Teachers Association. “We have SUNY Cortland right here, pumping out about a hundred graduates a year.”
Gym teacher instructing students in the Syracuse Academy of Science Charter School. Michael Davis Photo | Syracuse New Times
Gym teacher instructing students in the Syracuse Academy of Science Charter School.
Michael Davis Photo | Syracuse New Times
Asked about the importation of a gym teacher, SAS sent a written reply through its spokesperson, Kelly Gaggin, stating that the local pool of applicants didn’t include a candidate with the credentials or experience the school sought.
According to Jo Ellen Bailey, an associate professor who has taught PE teachers at Cortland State for the past 11 years, there are no additional credentials required for certification to work internationally. Cortland State students have the opportunity to work abroad during college in Australia or Germany. Recent graduates, she says, are finding the job market tight. While it is common for high schools to call her when they seek to hire a PE teacher, she has never heard from anyone at SAS.


When the SAS’s first director, Hakki Karaman, moved to California to run a charter school in the Gülen-affiliated Magnolia schools, the SAS board selected Hayali to run the Syracuse school. Hayali had earlier worked for Ercanli’s Horizon schools, which runs charters in the Midwest. Hayali left Horizon in Ohio to work at the private Pioneer Academy of Science of Southern New Jersey. Unlike SAS, Pioneer is a private school, one of as many as 1,400 such Gülen-inspired schools worldwide, and it is regularly praised in Today’s Zaman, the largest English-language newspaper in Turkey and a Gülen media outlet.
Ercanli came to Syracuse and founded SAS in 2003, along with Yildiray Yildirim, an associate professor of management and accounting at the Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University. Neither Ercanli nor Yildirim would agree to an interview with the New Times.
Students walking down a stairwell in the Syracuse  Michael Davis Photo | Syracuse New Times
Students walking down a stairwell in the Syracuse Academy of Science Charter School.
Michael Davis Photo | Syracuse New Times
When Hayali announced the opening of the school in Utica in 2013, the principal he selected was Kadir Yavuz. Yavuz attended Virginia International University, Gülen’s first foray into higher education in the United States. Hayali was succeeded as SAS principal by Galip Bok, who came to Syracuse after serving as principal of Phoenix Academy, in Everett, Mass., a charter school founded by Damkaci.
Patricia Coban, who taught at SAS and served on its board since its founding, is on the faculty at Pioneer Academy in New Jersey. Coban’s husband, Mustafa, is the IT director for SAS. He files the IRS forms for Terra Education and Science Foundation, which owns the buildings that house the Syracuse schools. Damkaci, chair of the self-appointed SAS board, is president of Terra.
Hakki Karaman, the former director of the SAS, is principal of the Magnolia Science Academy, in San Diego, part of a network of California charter schools said to be Gülen-inspired. Magnolia, like the Pioneer and Concept Schools, also employs teachers on H1B visas. Timur Saka resigned as principal of a Magnolia school and moved to Syracuse in October to become the director of the Turkish Cultural Center (TCC) in Syracuse.
One of Saka’s first tasks in Syracuse was to lead a delegation of Central New Yorkers to Turkey. Such delegations, according to Hendrick and other scholars, help build relationships and advance the agenda of the hizmet.
Across the country, there is frequently overlap between leadership of Turkish Cultural Centers and charter schools. Damkaci, Yildirim, Ercanli and Hayali have been involved in the local Turkish Cultural Center, on Leavenworth Avenue. Damkaci is a past president of the center.
Turkish Cultural Centers around the United States all host the same types of programs and share the same logos and website design. The Syracuse center is not independently incorporated; it is a subsidiary of the center in New York City, which is, in turn, part of the Council of Turkic American Associations.
Furkan Kosar, president of the council, was principal of Pioneer Academy in New Jersey, where Hayali worked.
“We are not part of any network,” says Damkaci. “There is no such thing. I see that the same as if you say, ‘These people go to the same church or synagogue, they are part of that network.’ ”


Loyalty to the cemaat has earned SAS officials criticism from the state Comptroller’s Office.
Students using audio equipment. Michael Davis Photo | Syracuse New Times
Students using audio equipment.
Michael Davis Photo | Syracuse New Times
According to an audit, several companies based in New Jersey were contracted to do hundreds of thousands of dollars of work for SAS under questionable circumstances. The audit, released in July, reads in part that “school officials routinely purchased school equipment and furnishings from a limited group of four vendors that were affiliated with one another. The required number of quotes was not always obtained, and quotes were sometimes obtained after the purchase was made. School officials did not document verbal quotes, making it impossible to verify that the lowest quote was used or that the school paid the correct amount. School officials also received quotes for school equipment and furnishings from vendors that did not specialize in such items, and did not attempt to identify more suitable vendors that could have offered more competitive prices.”
The audit did not identify the vendors, but the comptroller’s office, in response to a query from the New Times, said two of the vendors — Technotime Business Solutions and ProAcademy, a furniture supplier — share an address in East Rutherford, N.J.
Two other vendors who were given preferential treatment — Apple Educational Resources and Lotus Media — have been identified with the Gülen movement. An audit of a Buffalo charter school this year was critical of the school for its too-cozy arrangement with its landlord: Apple Educational Resources, an 8-year-old non-profit based in Moonachie, N.J. The Buffalo audit suggests that Apple and the Buffalo School – also run by Turkish immigrants – worked in tandem as the Apple bought a local YMCA which it later rented to the school at a rate the state viewed as excessive.
Lotus Media designs websites for Gülen-inspired charter schools around the country. Both Lotus and Apple provide services to the Phoenix Academy, near Boston, founded by Damkaci, and to the Pioneer Academy of Science, where Hayali worked.
Damkaci, who referred to himself as a “detail kind of guy” in an interview with the New Times, dismissed the issues raised by the audit as “procedural problems.” As far as Technotime and ProAcademy, he says, “we didn’t know they were connected.”
Tax filings of Terra Science and Education indicate clear links with other Turkish-run charter schools. According to Terra’s 2011 tax filings, the secretary of the board at that time was Mahmut Gedemenli, the board chair for the Rochester Academy Charter School. Terra’s treasurer was Murat Demirbas, the president of the board of trustees at the Buffalo Academy of Science Charter School. Both schools use many of the same vendors as SAS, and the Buffalo school rents its space from Apple Educational Services.
School officials say the faults identified by the audit with the bid procurement system have been corrected.


SAS is part of the North East Charter School Network, which provides support to charter schools in New York and New England. Among other services, the network offers its members a lengthy list of preferred vendors. The four vendors that were the target of criticism in the comptroller’s audit – ProAcademy, Technotime, Apple and Lotus – are not on the list.
Neither is Cihan Zorluoglu. Zorluoglu, described in a news release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s office as a Turkish immigrant, pleaded guilty in October 2011 to violating the Clean Air Act while removing asbestos from the building occupied by the SAS Elementary School. He was sentenced to two years’ probation and banned from working in asbestos removal during his probation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Benedict, who handled the prosecution, told the New Times in a phone interview that this job was apparently “one of the very first jobs like this (Zorluoglu) had ever done.”
Students listening to a lecture inside a classroom in the Syracuse Academy of Science Charter School. Michael Davis Photo | Syracuse New Times
Students listening to a lecture inside a classroom in the Syracuse Academy of Science Charter School.
Michael Davis Photo | Syracuse New Times
When SAS sought to expand and open an elementary school in 2011, the Terra Foundation purchased the St. James School, on South Salina Street, in the Valley. Rejecting bids from local contractors, Terra hired Apple Educational Resources to do the work.
The company’s website lists four projects it has completed, including the SAS elementary school.  All the projects are schools with Turkish-American administrators.
In his comments about the comptroller’s audit, Damkaci said the issues raised in the audit had to do with a transition period when SAS was moving its elementary pupils from the Park Street campus to South Salina Street. Damkaci said he felt the need to use known contractors in the rush to get the South Salina building finished in time for the first day of school. Husayin Kara, who at the time lived in New Jersey, managed the project for Apple, though he says he has little construction experience.
Kara denies hiring Zorluoglu, though Apple was responsible for the project during the time the violations occured. No one involved in the renovation of the elementary school takes responsibility for hiring Zorluoglu.
But the elementary school opening was delayed until November, in part because the Environmental Protection Agency busted Zorluoglu in July and shut down work at the school.
Asked about Zorluoglu, Damkaci and Hayali said they did not know him and that the asbestos issue was responsible for only a three-week delay in the school’s opening. Damkaci says in an email that “Terra Foundation is committed to holding itself and its supplier community to the highest standards of business conduct and integrity. Terra also seeks to procure services from local vendors whenever possible.”
“All renovations have been completed by local vendors,” Damkaci adds.
At the time of his arrest, Zorluogulu’s address was in Brewster, Putnam County. lists 41 asbestos-removal contractors in the Syracuse area.
Sources close to the project say that Zorlouglu’s work showed little knowledge of proper procedures and resulted in widespread contamination of the building. Eventually a local company – Target Group-Central New York – was hired to decontaminate the building before the renovations could resume.
Kara told the New Times in a telephone interview that he is no longer with Apple. He works as the chief development officer at the Pioneer Charter School of Science, in Everett, Mass., the school founded by Damkaci.


The history of Gülen schools in Turkey may help to explain why the students at SAS do so well on standardized tests.
A student taking notes. Michael Davis Photo | Syracuse New Times
A student taking notes.
Michael Davis Photo | Syracuse New Times
The explosive growth of the Gülen phenomenon can be traced to the early 1970s, when some of his followers began tutoring at institutes to drill youthful Turks for the high-stakes college entrance exam known by its initials: OSS. That exam can make or break a career in Turkey.
Parents willing to pay for tutoring provided money to the movement, and grateful students who did well developed loyalty to the Gülen community, the “cemaat,” which might explain why so many jobs and contracts at their schools worldwide go to Turks and members of the movement.
Eventually, the movement spawned high schools and colleges of its own.
In the interest of full disclosure: The Syracuse New Times building is one door down from SAS. We share a parking lot. Spinnaker Custom Products, a company owned by New Times publisher Bill Brod, has a business relationship with both SAS (Spinnaker makes uniforms and other items for SAS students) and with the Terra Foundation

Foot note this school had an Islamic prayer room and a video of it was sent by a "departing teacher" The video can be found on this blog.