The Gulen schools are signposts to a silent transformation in Turkey

Fatih elementary school, Istanbul
Fatih elementary school, Istanbul


Date posted: May 7, 2012

ATUL ANEJA, May 5, 2012

In the enclosed greens of a football ground at Istanbul’s Fatih University, a heated contest is underway. Young men from Kyrgyzstan, dressed in red, are feverishly locking horns with a team from Azerbaijan, attired in blue and white clothing.

The atmosphere around the ground is electric — the result of enthusiastic support that both teams get from the ebullient student fraternity in Fatih university, known for its cosmopolitan, international character. The contest ends in a 1-1 draw and both teams with their supporters head for the dining halls for a well-deserved lunch.

Fatih University reflects the silent transformation that Turkey is undergoing. The University is a private enterprise inspired by the Gulen movement (aka Hizmet movement) — a vehicle that has softly but powerfully conveyed a contemporary message of inclusive Sufi thinking. Reflecting the ideas of Fethullah Gulen, the movement also promotes solid values of business enterprise, modern education as well as non-discrimination and secularism in the political domain. It is also a shining example of the Gulen Movement’s commitment to spread quality education on a global scale. Gulen schools now operate in nearly 140 countries. The University is also a manifestation of the rise of the Anatolian Tigers— the pious and enormously successful grassroots businessmen from Anatolia, Turkey’s Asiatic part. The Gulen schools, as well as a handful of private universities such as Fatih, receive a significant part of their funding from the coffers of the Anatolian Tigers.

Source: Excerpted from the article Worldspace: Contradictory colours published on The Hindu http://www.thehindu.com/arts/magazine/article3383564.ece


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