The hype about the Gülen Movement

Mustafa Akyol
Mustafa Akyol


Date posted: April 29, 2012

Mustafa AKYOL

Recently, there was a long New York Times story about the matter, which quoted a Turkish journalist who believed that Gülen followers “have proliferated within the police and the judiciary, working behind the scenes to become one of Turkey’s most powerful political forces.” So, as another Turkish journalist, let me also tell you what I think.

One of the hot topics in present-day Turkey is the so-called “Gülen Movement,” a widespread religious network named after its spiritual leader, a Sufi-minded cleric named Fethullah Gülen.

The movement is known for opening modern schools and media outlets, as well as pursuing interfaith dialogue, but lately it has been accused of “taking over the state.” Recently, there was even a long New York Times story about the matter, which quoted a Turkish journalist who believed that Gülen followers “have proliferated within the police and the judiciary, working behind the scenes to become one of Turkey’s most powerful political forces.”

So, as another Turkish journalist, let me also tell you what I think.

First, a reminder: Turkey is a paranoia-rich county. Most people here believe that some hidden power – the CIA, Mossad, “Jews,” freemasons, foreign states, the deep state, or just something – is under every stone. Therefore, if you hear any Turk saying, “Oh my God, there is this scary cabal that is pulling all the strings,” I would suggest taking that with a grain of salt.

Besides, some conspiracy theories about the Gülen Movement (aka Hizmet movement) are already overtly crazy. Just go into any bookstore, and you will see ultra-nationalist bestsellers that blame Gülen for being “a secret Cardinal” (for he is too pro-Christian) or “a CIA puppet” (for he is not categorically anti-American).

Unless proven otherwise, therefore, I take the Gülenists-take-over-the-state theory only as convincing as the above.

However, it is also obvious that the movement has become growingly politicized in the past decade despite their earlier apolitical and non-partisan stance. One only needs to read daily Zaman and Today’s Zaman, or watch their TV counterpart, STV, to see a passion for supporting the investigations and cases against the alleged juntas in the military.

I think this strongly “anti-coup” stance of the movement is the basis of the speculations that they are “taking Turkey over.” My personal version of Occam’s Razor, however, gives me a simpler explanation: Gülen followers are very eager to prevent a military comeback, for they know that they would be its first victim.

You just need to know the history of the movement to see that. They follow in the footsteps of Said Nursi, who was jailed for decades under Mustafa Kemal Atatürk for simply writing books of “religious propaganda,” and whose tomb was torn to pieces by the military junta of 1960. The latest junta, that of “the postmodern coup,” targeted not just Gülen himself – because of it, he moved to the United States – but also all the institutions of the movement.

Therefore, it can well be reasoned that the movement does not want to “take over the state,” but to save it from being taken over by their enemies.

What if this is a transitional stage, though? What if the movement actually wants to establish an “Islamic state,” as all Islamists ultimately want?

I would say no, for two reasons. First, just read Nursi and Gülen, and you will see a clear refusal of Islamism. Their hope is not an “Islamic state,” but an Islam-friendly democratic state, under which their faith-focused “hizmet” (missionary work) can flourish with civil means.

Second, the Gülen Movement is a global one now. It is dedicated to show the world the virtues of Islam, which they think are overshadowed by radical Islamists and jihadists. Their global message is all about tolerance, dialogue and moderation. They would be utterly unwise to tarnish that well-deserved reputation for the sake of the petite politics of a midsize country called Turkey.

Source: Hurriyet Daily News , April/28/201


Related News

Erdoğan’s personal propaganda tool, the MGK

Erdoğan has asserted that the Gülen movement is to be included in the Red Book as a “prioritized threat.” But never mind the fact that he acts and speaks as though this has all been decided upon already. The fact is, he does not have the proper authority to do this. What’s more, there is absolutely no document or piece of information that would support such a move.

Intel chief first gives anti-Hizmet file to Obama, then visits Gülen, STV president Karaca says

Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Undersecretary Hakan Fidan gave a file containing a plan to finish off the Hizmet movement inspired by Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen to US President Barack Obama and then the MİT head visited Gülen at his home in Pennsylvania, Samanyolu Media Group Chief Hidayet Karaca stated on Tuesday.

Divided republic of RTE

The most recent example of the division is reflected at the social level. A realtor put a sign on his shop saying, “Followers of the Gülen movement are not allowed to do business in this shop.” Pro-Erdoğan journalists, instead of condemning the shop owner, thanked him. This is a typical hate crime promoted by Erdoğan and his close associates.

Somalia: Somaliland rules out closure of Gulen-linked school

Somaliland administration in northwestern Somalia has refused to follow in the footsteps of the federal government that suspended a school with links to reclusive Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen following a failed coup attempt in Turkey, Garowe Online reports.

Lynching of the Hizmet movement by the hand of the state

The community [the Hizmet movement] is being lynched, and the state is using its power to do it. The same tactic has been used in the claims of mass wiretapping. The prosecutors involved in the investigation have denied the claims, but the black propaganda campaign has been going on for two days.

Erdogan’s Lust For Power Is Destroying Turkey’s Democracy

During the past few months I interviewed scores of Turkish citizens who escaped from Turkey following the unsuccessful military coup, fearing for their lives. Many of them left their families behind. Although it has the potential of becoming a major player on the global stage, Turkey’s brilliant prospects are being squandered because of President Erdogan’s insatiable lust for power.

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

Replacing Turkey’s purged elite

Astonishing questions about the failed coup attempt in Turkey

Fethullah Gulen’s statement on World Press Freedom Day

Turkish School in Romania Granted with ‘Award of Excellence’

Kimse Yok Mu heals the wounds of flood victims in Sudan

60-year old man covers 309 km in 17 days to protest son’s arrest on coup charges

On front lines of fight for press freedom in Turkey

Copyright 2024 Hizmet News