With the many serious problems facing the state of Illinois, it is refreshing to see that the Illinois House recently tackled one of the most pressing issues facing our state by unanimously passing legislation to create a Task Force on Turkish and Illinois Relations. After all, Turkey and Illinois have much in common: failing economies, huge debt and a long history of political corruption. Why would Illinois legislators seek to partner with Turkey instead of a more successful country?
According to the Tribune, of the 43 foreign trips received as gifts by Illinois state lawmakers from 2008 through 2012, 32 were to Turkey, including four trips by Speaker Mike Madigan. Many of these trips were paid for by the Niagara Foundation, an organization closely aligned with Fetulah Gulen, the reclusive mullah whose followers are in the process of trying to seize power in Turkey.
Illinois government has long been for sale, and now the list of prospective buyers has apparently been expanded to include foreign interests as well. Hopefully, the Illinois Senate will have enough sense to let this bill wither on the vine while they tackle some of the bigger challenges that are facing our state. And hopefully Illinois voters will wake up, throw the bums out and pull down the "for sale" sign in Springfield.