by Max Brantley
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.Arkansas legislators were on the list al from the period before the constitutional amendment put the end to foreign travel. Enjoying trips to Turkey, according to the report, were five Democratic legislators — Fred Allen, Joan Cash, Steve Harrelson, Jimmy Jeffress, Bruce Maloch, Johnnie Roebuck and Robbie Wills (only Maloch remains in the legislature) and two Republicans, Karen Hopper and now-Secretary of State Mark Martin.
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.