Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan appears to be having a double dealings on taking the fight to ISIS. He has instead prefer a cosmetic approach in tackling the terrorist group. It is high time Erdogan purged himself of insincerity and religious rhetoric in the fight against ISIS and joined forces with other leaders to bring enduring peace to Turkey, the Middle-East and the various parts of the world.
Fethullah Gulen issued a message of condolences and condemnation of the terrorist attack in an Istanbul nightclub on New Year’s Eve. Gulen said, “I pray that God grant mercy and forgiveness to those who lost their lives during a time normally reserved for celebration, hope and renewal.”
Turkish cleric Nurettin Yıldız demanded a fatwa from Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate suggesting that supporters of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who is accused by the Turkish government and Erdoğan of masterminding a failed coup in July, be executed, their opposing hands and feet be amputated or be exiled instead of keeping them in prisons.
The on-camera murder of Russian ambassador Andrey Karlov by 22-year-old Turkish police officer Mevlut Mert Altintas raised some disturbing questions about corruption and security in Turkey. In an interview with Hurriyet Daily News, Altintas’s step-sister Seher made those questions even more disturbing by claiming her brother was radicalized in police school.
While the Turkish government insists on claiming that Mert Altıntaş, the police officer who assassinated the Russian ambassador to Ankara, is linked to the Gülen movement, it has been discovered that the gunman attended the sermons of Nurettin Yıldız, a staunch supporter of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Ironically, Erdogan finds it more expedient to blame Hizmet, rather than Daesh (IS), for the jihadist atrocities being consistently perpetrated in Turkey today. Thus, the Turkish Islamist president has got a scapegoat following all terror incidents of jihadist nature or other internal crisis engulfing the country.
Karlov’s murderer was Mevlüt Mert Altintas. He did not grow up in a vacuum. Five years ago, Erdogan acknowledged his goal was “to raise a religious generation.” Altintas is its product. He was seven years old when Erdogan came to power; his whole schooling was under Erdogan. If history is any pattern, the violence in Turkey is just beginning and Erdogan will not be able to contain it, even if he is inclined to try.
Members of the Saudi royal family are known financiers of madrassas, informal education centers around the world that propagate Wahhabiism, an extremist interpretation of Islam. Will the [pro-Erdogan] New York dormitory function as a madrassa?
In sharp contrast to Boko Haram, there is a faith-inspired group, a civil society movement that engages in education, dialogue and charitable activities and has grown out of Muslim grass roots. Check out how disturbed Boko Haram is about Hizmet’s education campaign, which offers opportunities for both boys and girls. Check out how ISIL publications outline exactly how they hate the Hizmet movement’s efforts and why they see Hizmet as their “enemies.”
The extracts in this booklet have been selected according to the current volume’s theme from among Gülen’s books already published in Turkish. Some of them have been translated into English before but most of the extracts have been translated into English and arranged into different chapters in the present volume. Some of the texts are revised and altered by Fethullah Gülen himself.
The ongoing purge leaves no room for doubt that the Turkish government is ready to go to any lengths to eliminate the Gülen movement. The current rise in homegrown Islamist radicalization is another sign that Turkey’s social fabric is undergoing a noxious change. The major effect of this change has been damage to the traditional mainstream understanding of Islam in Turkey.
Abdallah Kheri, who in Kenya heads the Islamic Research and Education Trust, worries that shuttering Gulen schools and other institutions could leave a vacuum that the so-called Islamic State will seek to fill. “Closing down the institutions would definitely grant gains to the fundamentalists,” he said. In Kenya, the Rev. Wilybard Lagho, Mombasa Roman Catholic diocese vicar general, said he would lament the demise of Gulen schools.
The dilemma for the Pakistani government is stark. Turkish prime minister Binali Yildirim has warned that Turkey would be at war with any country that cooperates or aids the Gulen movement. Yet closing down schools that prepare their students for a modern society and economy is something Pakistan’s deeply troubled education sector can ill afford.