In Front Page today, I reveal the Democratic nominee’s close ties to “the Turkish Khomeini.”
The Daily Caller on Wednesday revealed numerous ties between Hillary Clinton and members of the shadowy network surrounding Fethullah Gulen, the controversial Muslim cleric who has been called “the Turkish Khomeini,” and whom the Erdogan regime is accusing of instigating the coup that nearly toppled it on Friday.
According to the Caller, the Gulen camp has been one of Hillary’s numerous sources of cash, in exchange for which she gave access to the President: “a Gulen follower named Gokhan Ozkok asked Clinton deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin for help in connecting one of his allies to President Obama….Ozkok served as national finance co-chair of the pro-Clinton Ready PAC. He gave $10,000 to the committee in 2014 and $2,700 to Clinton’s campaign last year. He is also listed on the Turkish Cultural Center’s website as a member of the Clinton Global Initiative, one of the non-profit arms of the Clinton Foundation. He’s given between $25,000 and $50,000 to the Clinton charity.”
Ozkok wrote to Huma Abedin in 2009: “Please tell Madam Secretary that it would be great if President Obama can include a 15 minutes [sic] meeting with Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary-General of the Organization of of [sic] the Islamic Conference (OIC), in his trip to Turkey.”
Obama did meet with Ihsanoglu, and later invited him to the White House. Ihsanoglu is a longtime foe of the freedom of speech; he once went so far as to liken the Danish cartoons of Muhammad to 9/11: “The Islamic world took the satirical drawings as a different version of the September 11 attacks against them.” He claimed that Muslims were “being targeted by a campaign of defamation, denigration, stereotyping, intolerance and discrimination,” and urged European legislators to criminalize “Islamophobia.”
In March 2011, Ihsanoglu gave a speech to the UN Council on Human Rights, calling upon it to set up “an Observatory at the Office of the High Commissioner to monitor acts of defamation of all religions . . . as a first step toward concerted action at the international level.” Then on April 12, 2011, the UN Council on Human Rights passedResolution 16/18, with full support from the Obama Administration. This resolution calls upon member states to impose laws against “discriminatory” speech, or speech involving “defamation of religion.” In June 2011, Ihsanoglu said that such laws were “a matter of extreme priority” for the OIC.
As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton affirmed the Obama Administration’s support for this campaign on July 15, 2011, when she gave an address on the freedom of speech at an OIC conference on Combating Religious Intolerance. “Together,” she said, “we have begun to overcome the false divide that pits religious sensitivities against freedom of expression and we are pursuing a new approach.”
But how could both be protected? Ihsanoglu offered the answer: criminalizing what he considered to be hatred and incitement to violence. “We cannot and must not ignore the implications of hate speech and incitement of discrimination and violence.” But in restricting the freedom of speech, Clinton had a First Amendment to deal with, and so in place of legal restrictions on criticizing Islam, she suggested “old-fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming, so that people don’t feel that they have the support to do what we abhor.” She held a lengthy closed-door meeting with Ihsanoglu in December 2011 to facilitate the adoption of measures that would advance the OIC’s anti-free speech agenda, which amounted to an attempt to impose Sharia blasphemy laws upon the West. But what agreements she and Ihsanoglu made, if any, have never been disclosed. Hillary’s contact with Ihsanoglu was initiated by Gulen’s associate Ozkok.
That’s bad enough, but there is much more. According to the Daily Caller, “a Gulen-aligned group called the Alliance for Shared Values hired the Clinton-connected Podesta Group to lobby Congress on its behalf.” The executive director of the Alliance for Shared Values was also a Clinton donor. In fact, “numerous Gulen followers have donated to Clinton’s various political campaigns and to her family charity. One Gulen movement leader, Recep Ozkan, donated between $500,000 and $1 million to the Clinton Foundation.”
The Caller states that Gulen’s teachings are “relatively moderate and pro-Western,” but there are numerous reasons to approach such claims with skepticism. Turkey’s National Security Council condemned Gulen in 1998 for “trying to undermine the country’s secular institutions, concealing his methods behind a democratic and moderate image.”
Asia News reported in 2009 that Gulen had been “criticised by a large number of secularists who believe that underneath a veneer of humanist philosophy, Gulen plans to turn Turkey’s secular state into a theocracy. Secular Kemalists have compared him to Khomeini and fear that his return to Turkey might turn Ankara into another Tehran. The governments of Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are also weary [sic] and suspicious of his ‘Turkish schools promoted by Islamic missionaries.’ At the basis of Gulen’s teachings is the notion that state and religion should be reconnected as they were in Ottoman times.”
Gulen and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are former associates who are now bitter enemies, after Gulen backed a 2013 corruption probe targeting Erdogan’s regime. And so even though Erdogan has frequently been accused of wanting to destroy Turkish secularism and restore Islamic rule, his regime has leveled the same charge against Gulen, who now lives in a secluded compound in Pennsylvania. Referring to that corruption probe, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ last January echoed the “Turkish Khomeini” charge and said that it ended up exposing Gulen’s sinister agenda:
“If there had been no Dec. 17 [corruption probe], or if it had been delayed and the Turkish people had failed to realize the power of this structure within Turkey, then Fethullah Gülen would have returned from Pennsylvania to Turkey just like Khomeini returned to Iran. Looking from this perspective, Dec. 17 was the day when Turkey said ‘no’ to such a transformation. The state and all its institutions have taken positions accordingly as they realized the danger.”
Gulen’s response to the Khomeini comparison was oddly pedantic and revealed more in what it did not say than in what it did. He noted that he was not a Shi’ite and that Turkey was not Iran, but never addressed the question of whether he, like Khomeini, would like to return to his home country and establish the rule of Islamic law (Sharia) there.
Erdogan is now accusing Gulen of fomenting the coup attempt against him. This is, however, unlikely, as the coup was apparently an attempt to stop Erdogan’s efforts to restore Islamic rule in Turkey, and much as Gulen and Erdogan hate each other, they both apparently share the view that “state and religion should be reconnected as they were in Ottoman times.”
Should Hillary Clinton ever have accepted money from organizations connected with Gulen – much less exchanged influence for it? If she becomes our next President, she is unlikely to end such unsavory associations. Those who are contemplating voting for her should consider carefully the likelihood that a vote for Hillary is a vote for…Fethullah Gulen, the Turkish Khomeini.