What is going on in Turkey? Who is Fethullah Gülen?


Date posted: August 3, 2016

Tom Gage

Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the president of Turkey, a NATO member nation that hosts our nuclear weapons. Evidence indicates he’s an Islamist.

Erdogan’s fundamentalist convictions led to persecution of two of whom I’ve written and published: the late Çelic Gülersoy, referred to as “Next to Ataturk” and Fethullah Gülen. The latter has been compared to Gandhi, Luther, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr., but Erdogan accuses him of launching the recent military coup. Gülen is a scholar and man of the cloth. His writings have attracted a following, an international movement, the name and mission of which UC Press entitled its recent publication “Hizmet Means Service” (ed. Dr. Martin Marty, 2015).

I wrote “Gülen’s Dialogue on Education” as a response to those asking “Where are the moderate Muslims?” A 2008 Foreign Policy Magazine survey of half a million ranked Gülen first among the hundred greatest living thinkers. In 2013, the NYC East/West Institute awarded him its Peace Award, one of only three presented in as many decades by this non-governmental group responsible for convincing President Reagan to meet with Mikhail Gorbachev. Hizmet is a civic, not a political, organization. It includes those inspired by Gülen to build schools (800 around the world), to teach, to respond as disaster relief agents, and to write to provide checks and balances in Turkey.

To be fair, in the early 2000s Erdogan’s government appeared promising. It negotiated with Kurdish separatists, got rid of visas to bordering countries, and led a thriving economy.

After much negotiation to counsel the dishonest Assad, Erdogan went on attack, and Assad increased sanctuary for the PPK, Marxist/Leninist Kurds, responsible for a 30-year war of secession, which has resulted in 30,000 deaths (incidentally, and more ironically, the most lethal foe of ISIS).

Since 2000, many in Hizmet, as well as others, demanded the government investigate those in the military responsible during its 1980 coup for the “disappeared thousands.” Subsequent trials jailed many, along with others who after 2007 plotted to launch a coup against Erdogan. I have many friends, like Gülersoy, associated with the Turkish military, the second largest in NATO. But within this impressive body, there are some, the “deep state,” who are corrupt and criminal.

With the neighboring Arab Spring, Erdogan needed the support of the same military that his government had previously jailed. Since 2013, he has been blaming Gülen and Hizmet, along with intellectuals and secularists who both encouraged the earlier investigations and criticized his emerging authoritarianism. By blaming this coup on Gülen, Erdogan placated a bitter military. In framing Hizmet, Erdogan cites a “parallel state,” twisting a phrase to echo an allusion meaningful to most knowledgeable of Turkish political history. For more than a half century, the secret “deep state” has referred to a fascist wing responsible for overthrowing four democratic governments. Would any in the military who have been under Hizmet’s scrutiny for the last decade attempt to overthrow the government in the interests of Hizmet? It doesn’t follow.

With a similar twist of guile, Erdogan claims to be the new Ataturk. The nation’s founder was secular; outlawed women wearing veils; imposed Turkish, instead of Arabic, for worship; and instituted le laïcité, a very different concept of state and church relations from what the U.S. practices. You must understand the difference: Gülen’s followers have sought freedom for religions in contrast to Turkey’s traditional heritage of Code De Napoleon, which insures freedom from religion. Washington doesn’t appoint bishops nor outlaw Latin. Imagine President Obama appointing Mormon, Catholic, and Baptist leaders. Since 2010, Erdogan has expunged Ataturk’s ban on women wearing veils, instituted religious classes in public schools and universities, arrested writers, journalists, and civic leaders, outlawed Facebook and Twitter, fired judges, emulated Putin’s executive presidency, and in a week in the wake of the coup arrested and fired 70,000. Erdogan has a vendetta without evidence for blaming Gülen but is using the coup as an excuse to punish any critical of his increasing authoritarianism.

Write Congress and the president to oppose Erdogan’s blackmailing the United States to extradite Gülen.

Dr. Tom Gage is instructor at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Humboldt State University

Source: Times Standard Columns , July 28, 2016


Related News

Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Fethullah Gulen

The Muslim religious scholar from Turkey preaches a moderate form of Islam — one that regards terrorism as blasphemy and a woman’s headscarf as secondary to education. Gulen is also a wanted man. He is accused in Turkey of leading a terrorist organization that has attempted to topple the government. A Turkish court has issued three arrest warrants for him.

Fethullah Gulen: ISIL Actions, Disgrace to Faith

Turkish scholar Fethullah Gulen has sent out a strongly worded statement, against the barbarity of the ISIL militant group. “As a practicing Muslim, I strongly condemn the brutal atrocities of the ISIL terrorist group. Their actions are a disgrace to the faith they proclaim and are crimes against humanity.”-Fethullah Gulen

Former US Ambassador Ricciardone: Hizmet members not terrorists

Former US Ambassador to Turkey Frank Ricciardone has said that the US government does not regard members of faith-based Hizmet movement as terrorists.

GYV calls on government to respect judiciary amid corruption probe

The government should respect Turkey’s independent judiciary as a corruption probe that has implicated senior members of the ruling party deepens, the Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV), whose honorary chair is Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, said in a statement published on its website on Monday.

Moderate Muslims Find Voice and Spotlight in Worldwide Gulen Movement

Jim Buie Those who’ve foolishly claimed on this blog that there’s “no such thing as a moderate Muslim” and expressed their Islamophobia should by now be fully aware of if not confronted by their own ignorance and bigotry. Did they notice that the very influential Turkish imam, thinker and writer Fetullah Gulen was quick to […]

The Battle For Turkey’s Soul

It is ironic and tragic that at a time when the world is in dire need of a liberal-moderate Islamic movement in its fight against Wahhabi-Salafi inspired global Islamic terrorism, the Erdogan regime is bent upon destroying the Gulen movement by labelling it as “terrorist”.

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

Whistleblower reveals wiretapping conspiracy to libel Hizmet

Educational unions lash out against gov’t-backed school raids

Gülen movement has no political agenda

Local Turks [in Chicago] fear for safety of friends, family overseas after failed coup

Radio Sweden exposes Turkish Gov’t tracks down regime critics in Sweden, threatens to take wives as hostages

A Rare Interview: Jamie Tarabay Meets Turkish Scholar Fethullah Gulen

Trustees decide to remove Gülen’s books from NT bookstores

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News