Key findings: schools and subsidized trips to Turkey

Key findings:

  • At least 151 state legislators from 29 states toured Turkey between 2006 and 2015 on subsidized trips thanks to more than two dozen nonprofits associated with the Gulen movement, a Turkish religious movement led by an Islamic cleric who lives in exile in Pennsylvania.
  • Since 2011, state lawmakers in 23 states have introduced at least 54 resolutions honoring Turkey or Turkish Americans, some of which specifically praised Gulen or Gulen-movement organizations.
  • Legislators oversee education policies and budgets — including for charter schools. Friends of the Gulen movement run a loose network of roughly 160 publicly funded charter schools in 26 states and the District of Columbia.
  • Some state legislators who went on subsidized trips later defended charter schools linked to the movement.
  • In Texas, at least 10 Texas legislators — including four who served on state education committees — went on the sponsored trips. The Lone Star state is home to the most Gulen-linked charter schools in the United States.