Texas probes charter school system after Turkish complaint

(Associated Press)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas is investigating a charter school system that the Turkish government claims has ties to a moderate Islamic cleric it's accused of inspiring a military coup attempt.

The Texas Education Agency said Friday that Turkey alleges Harmony Public Schools gave preferential treatment to Turkish owned and operated vendors in violation of competitive bidding requirements. Turkey also alleges the school system misused U.S. and state funds by guaranteeing a $1.9 million bond for a Turkish operated charter network in Arkansas.

In a statement, Harmony calls the claims "preposterous" and "welcomes the opportunity to fully cooperate with the Texas Education Agency."

Harmony has more than 31,000 students at 48 campuses in Texas. Turkey says Harmony has ties to Fethullah Gulen, the alleged mastermind of a July 15 coup attempt who's living in Pennsylvania.