By Safvan Allahverdi
WASHINGTON (AA) - A U.S. government-funded TV channel has given leading fugitive members of Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) a chance to vilify Turkey.
Virginia-based al-Hurra News, an Arabic-language satellite TV channel, which broadcasts to 25 countries in the Middle East and North Africa featured key FETO fugitives Emre Uslu and Adem Yavuz Arslan on screen.
The TV channel, which has long been criticized for being a propaganda tool of the U.S. government in the Middle East, also shared a video of the interview on its Twitter account.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
FETO and its leader, Gulen are also suspected of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the Turkish state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.
The terror group has a considerable presence outside Turkey, including private educational institutions that investigators have found serve as a revenue stream for the terror group.
Al-Hurra was established as an alternative to Middle-Eastern broadcasts, often critical of the U.S., by former U.S. President George W. Bush in 2004. It also attempted to tone down Arab anger after the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
The channel, which operates under the control of Broadcasting Board of Governors (global media agency of the U.S. government), eventually came under fire by American politicians for not reaching the targeted number of viewers despite its large budget.
Receiving over $100 million annually from American taxpayers, al-Hurra has became "the most expensive foreign broadcasting effort undertaken by the U.S. government", according to the ProPublica, a nonprofit organization that produces investigative journalism in the U.S.
According to Congressional records, al-Hurra received $108 million while its state television channel Voice of America received $221 million in fiscal year 2017.
The channel dismissed its own top executive and employees who broadcast a live speech by Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah, and a Holocaust deniers' conference in Iran.