Legislators Have No Business In Turkey

Whenever states enter into the international arena of business and diplomacy you can figure there is something wrong with the plan.

The local news outlets played it pretty straight yesterday when news was received that a delegation of Idaho legislators and their spouses was safe following a terrorist blast in Ankara, Turkey. This was nothing more than a junket payed for by the Turkish government in our opinion. It could be only a tourist promotion, but the Turks have been hustling public officials for several years. WHY?

Over the past 40 years the GUARDIAN has witnessed visits from officials in Taiwan to the legislature at a time when the island nation was struggling to remain independent–the USA does not recognize Taiwan today as a country, but various states have trade offices in Taipei.

We also saw farmers sucking up to a Libyan delegation claiming to be interested in Idaho wheat–they wanted hard red, but we grow soft white. A complex sale agreement was worked out, but the actual grain was not grown in Idaho. The reason for the Idaho interest turned out to be former Senator Frank Church’s opposition to selling US-made C-130 aircraft to Libya which could be used against Israel. The deal even had an “anti-Zionist” clause.

One politico appeared on Channel 7 saying he had taken the bait last year and had a most pleasant trip, noting the Turks are interested in Idaho beef. The legislature has no beef to sell. Ranchers have beef, but they didn’t get the freebie. We think there is a move to “BUY” political support for Turkey which has a lot of politics and diplomacy on its plate with the European Union, USA, Russia, and Israel at the moment. There is also an Islamic group called the “Gulen movement” which may be using local officials as pawns in an international chess game centered around charter schools of all things.

We got a call from one local official who said he turned down the offer for a free trip to Turkey–airfare was NOT covered–because it was simply against the law. The local guy told us there was so much value in the gift that it would have clearly violated the Idaho ethics law. He was invited solely based on his official position.

Seems HAWAII has a little better handle on ethics issues.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Just having a free vacation and nothing more. Dave, since that sort of thing has been going on for so many decades, I don’t see why you take issue with it. They work so hard and get paid so little, they should be able to spend on themselves however they please.

    Turkey, by the way, is in process of rebuilding the Ottoman Empire. We are weakening all the nations they will administer again in the coming years. Welcome change so some extent.

  2. Looks like a complex deal. One the surface it is just about promoting multi-cultralism. But Looks like a long slow movement to promote the ideas of the Gulen movement that some say is cult.

    Many states have looked into the ethics of these trips.

    And even passed legislation recognizing these organizaitons including Idaho.
    http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2011/SR102.pdf I can’t find the sponsor.

    Looks like Charter schools are a major activity for the Gulen movement and a way to spread their word.

    EDITOR NOTE–As always we appreciate the additional insight from Clancy, our “resident researcher.”

  3. I think every public official needs to post his expenses paid for by taxpayers when they travel on our dime air fare, rental cars, meals, tips and gratuities etc.

    Additionally, a trip report to the public explaining the purpose of the trip and why it could not be handled via non-travel means such as, the telephone, fax, tele-conference or even a USPS letter.

  4. IdahoCrystal
    Sep 23, 2011, 10:38 am

    I really appreciate getting this information and the different perspectives provided. My personal opinion on trips falls under the ‘if-your-title-doesn’t-contain-the-words-foreign-diplomat,-then-your-focus-should-remain-here’ line of thinking. I also believe that the laws are ‘adjusted’ to accomodate those making the laws – where ‘gifts’ for the majority of public servants must be politely refused because they can’t benefit personally from their position, ‘gifts’ that can be made to look work-related for elected officals are accepted all the time. Sheesh, most federal & state employees can’t even accept the free-w/purchase stuff even when it’s just a coffee mug thrown in with what they had to buy.

  5. “Hidden agenda” is a huge thing in many of the hijacked school systems all over the country. Perhaps the Ottoman’s will expand to America too. I’m sure you can find enough libs and foreigners to let them.

    Great clips Clancy. I wonder what the Turks think of the local dominant religion?

    I must turn off my transmitter now, the Turkish Police and American SS have stopped at my building with an antenna truck.

  6. The trip was sponsored by the Pacifica Institute. Here’s what a 2008 diplomatic cable stated: “The [Pacifica Institute] organizers readily acknowledged being affiliated with the Gulen Movement.”


    What would the reaction be if the the Moonies or Scientologists or any other cult-like religious group sponsored similar GUIDED (= propaganda opportunity) trips to public officials under the cover of an organization which described itself falsely?

  7. PS – The bill was introduced by the Senate State Affairs Committee led by Sen. Curt McKenzie. Several members on that committee have been on Turkey trips.

  8. When Max told them he wouldn’t give them the recipe for Tandoori chicken and Naan, how else were they going to get it? And on someone else’s dime?, it’s a no-brainer!!

  9. So what another FREE trip to Turkey for politicians, academia and media by the Gulen Movement (yawn)

    I was wondering where the $6 million on travel expenses for the last 3 years tax returns of Cosmos Education dba Harmony Science Academy were going?

    Then there is the Pelican Education Foundation which oversees the Gulen Charter schools in Louisana (one of which was just taken back by the state board of education because of bribes by the school- surprise surprise)
    They had $1.7 million for 2009 taxes. You can check out their 990 tax returns for free at http://www.guidestar.com
    learn where your educational tax money is going.

  10. You hungry little America needs economy of Turkey to fix your problems. You has problems with Islamophobia, that is why you Idoho peoples lose money.

  11. ACLU is doing something useful sometimes.


Get the Guardian by email

Enter your email address: