“The issue is not only about corruption, it is also about the independence of the judiciary and the separation of powers, things at the heart of the democratic regime. There is no democracy without these,” says Haluk Özdalga, who was a member of the ruling party since 2007 until his recent resignation.
It must be realized that religion is a matter for individual citizens. It is likely that the Gülen community will face restrictions and pressure from the government [as the AK Party government’s supporters have accused the Gülen movement of discrediting a number of ministers and their relatives in relation to a recent investigation into alleged bribery in public tenders, which saw the sons of three Cabinet ministers taken into custody alongside construction moguls and bureaucrats]. What we have been defending are universal rights, including the freedom of religion and belief. If these can be achieved, everybody will benefit from them, not just the Alevi community.
The [Hizmet] movement was formed by Gulen’s sermons – he knew how to reinterpret Islam’s moral and ethical demands. It’s not just about continuing traditions, but about exploring nature, seeing God in the laws of nature and the laws of physics and about finding God again.
What does Gulen say? He says: “Work hard and earn money, but be honest. Allah will reward your hard work and honesty. But do not squander that reward. Turn it into an investment and help others.” It sounds a lot like the Protestant work ethic. This is the underlying vision of capitalism. The Gulen Movement looks a lot like the Ottoman-era Ahi movement. It is a kind of a solidarity group that provides people with jobs, education, and reintegration into society.
The Gulen movement has become a global movement. In other words, it is Turkey’s most important export. When you cross boundaries, you have to watch the balance. His statement on the flotilla incident was both domestic and international. However, we must not forget that Gulen does not recommend that people fight those in authority. His statements disturbed both the government and the conservatives in Turkey.
Professor Ori Z. Soltes, author of ‘Embracing the World: Fethullah Gülen’s Thought and Its Relationship to Jalaluddin Rumi and Others,’ explains how Gülen’s perception of Sufism is grounded particularly in the work of thinkers such as Jalaluddin Rumi, Ibn Arabi and Said Nursi, but is also grounded in the idea of selflessness.
Mehmet Gündem: If you were to write a letter or send a message to the Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan, what would you tell him? Fethullah Gülen: “Do not be content with employing consultants only from among the admirers of your party. Do not only speak with your own organizations. Benefit from the wise people who love Turkey; because they act objectively, and seek no personal gain.”
Today’s Zaman interviewed Wagner about his recent book and his insights about Fethullah Gülen. Prof. Walter Wagner says: “There was a Hitler, there was a Stalin, and there was an Osama bin Laden. We must be very careful and we must examine the heart. In Gülen’s case, the key is love. If the charismatic leader does not lead you to love, does not lead you to acceptance. People are hungry for such leadership.
YONCA POYRAZ DOĞAN, İSTANBUL Though Turkey’s relations with Armenia have been strained by a number of historical and political issues, a Turkish Caucasus analyst who lived and studied in Armenia points out in his new book that only dialogue can solve problems. “There is a great panorama of civil society activities, and I can say […]
In a way, they [the Gülen movement] represent a new model of Islam in Turkey, at peace with democracy and modernity. This also reflects the Anatolian understanding of Islam, i.e. the Sufi conception of morality is at the centre of the movement. I would consider it as a movement based on the re-imagining of Islam and consisting of loose networks under the guidance and leadership of Fetullah Gülen.
One of the best-selling weeklies of Turkey, Aksiyon, made Fethullah Gülen’s meeting with Pope John Paul II a cover story on February 2, 1998 and published an published an interview with him. Gülen visited the Pope on February 9, 1998. A summarized excerpt from that interview follows.
Kimse Yok Mu Foundation (KYM) President Ismail Cingoz spoke on Turkey’s helping hand extending to the world: “We involve approximately 10 thousand volunteers in our efforts. We have 97 thousand families that we have been consistently providing aid for. We are active in 103 countries regardless of their ethnicity, language, faith or color.” We talked […]
In an exclusive interview, Fethullah Gulen speaks on anti-Semitism, his particular brand of Islam, and why he’s been in hiding for 14 years. The reclusive spiritualist keeps to his home in the Poconos, attended by believers, praying, lecturing, and claiming his influence is not as wide-ranging as his critics claim it to be. He is sickly and doesn’t travel, yet secular Turks worry his influence in political ranks will grow Islamist influence there.
The engagement and integration to the larger society is very crucial for Muslims. There are many good qualities in secular societies which are Islamic such as right of education, freedom and housing. We should value them and play our part.