As I researched the Gulen schools in Germany, I experienced beyond what I had expected

Dr. Jochen Thies (Photo: Adam Berry/Burson-Marsteller)
Dr. Jochen Thies (Photo: Adam Berry/Burson-Marsteller)


Date posted: April 28, 2013

Dr. Jochen Thies’ new book focuses on Gulen-inspired Schools in Germany. Dr. Jochen Thies introduced the book he wrote about the schools opened in Germany by Turkish entrepreneurs: “We Are a Part of This Society-A Look at the Education Initiatives of the Gulen Movement”.

Dr. Gunther Mulack, Director of the German Orient Institute, who was also a participant in the event, mentioned the fact that the best schools in Afghanistan were no longer the German and French schools but rather the Turkish schools. Meanwhile, the author of the book, Dr. Thies, criticized the indifference of the Germans towards the Turkish schools.

The event was held at the Berlin State Parliament, where Dr. Jochen Thies signed copies of his book entitled “We Are a Part of This Society-A Look at the Education Initiatives of the Gulen Movement”.

Though it may be different in other parts of the world, in Germany, Turks are not the first to come to mind when speaking of education. In fact, in regions like Berlin, where there is a big Turkish population, there is an established conviction that the higher the rate of Turkish students means the worse off that school is.

Again, despite the fact that education plays a crucial role in shaping the future of the children, it is known that the percentage of high school graduation is 40 for the German children and only around 10 percent in Turkish children.

Nonetheless, there are certain Turks who have made a good reputation for themselves in the educational field, for quite a long time. Hundreds of tutoring courses and many schools have been established in Germany, and these projects are being associated with the name Fethullah Gulen. Well then, which persons are behind these schools? Which schools have they established? What are their objectives, and what is the German public opinion towards these schools?

Jochen Thies_In guter Gesellschaft-Eine deutsch türkische BildunThere is one book that is out on the market, answering these and other similar questions. The book carries the name “Wir sind Teil dieser Gesellschaft. Einblicke in die Bildungsinitiativen der Gülen-Bewegung” and has been published by the Herder Publishing House. The author of the book, Dr. Jochen Thies, aside from his historian identity, has done significant service throughout his life as a journalist.

Dr. Thies has also written the speeches for the former President Helmut Schmidt, director the foreign politics section of the Die Welt newspaper, served as the editorial director for the Europa-Archiv/Internationale Politik magazine and worked at top-end positions for the ARD television and the German Radio. He has also served as principal of a school during a certain period of his life. For his book, he visited the TUDESB High School in Berlin, Dialog in Koln, and the BIL schools in Stuttgart and made numerous interviews and held numerous meetings.

The introduction of the book took place at the Berlin State Parliament. At the introduction were many names alongside the author of the book, Dr. Jochen Thies, including Rabbi Prof. Walter Homolka; Expert on Bible Studies, Prof. Christoph Bultmann; former Foreign Secretary, Dr. Markus Meckel; and President of the Interkultureller Dialog e.V. Institute, Sociolog Ercan Karakoyun. Conducting the program was the Director of the German Orient Institute, Dr. Gunter Mulack. An extensive number of Turkish and German listeners joined the program.

During his speech, Dr. Gunter Mulack stated that in Kabil, the capital city of Afghanistan, the Turkish high school had superseded the German and French schools as the best school in the city. Prof. Bultmann, on the other hand, drew attention to the interesting attitude of the German Press Council (Deutscher Presserat)—which examines articles that have violated the moral principles for the press—towards the article published in Der Spiegel.

Prof. Bultmann called attention to the fact that in the article published some time ago in Der Spiegel magazine about Fethullah Gulen and the Hizmet Movement some of the opinions that had been given with reference to certain individuals had been distorted, that the German Press Council had twice examined and confirmed this to be true, yet, in an incomprehensible way, had not openly demanded that Der Spiegel magazine make the necessary corrections.

The last person to come up to the rostrum was Dr. Jochen Thies. He spoke about how his book came to be and continued by reading excerpts from the book. The author expressed that the publishing of the book was the result of the doors that were opened and the trust that was put in him.

The author spoke about how he had been full of hope as he started his research and interviews, but said that the things he saw and experienced had been way above his expectations. Dr. Thies also criticized the low interest of the German people towards the schools, and used these words of caution, “The Turks opened up like an oyster, but now they may close.”

Source: [in Turkish] ZamanOnlineGermany. English translation is retrieved from HizmetMovement.Com, April 25, 2013


Related News

Book Review: A Hizmet Approach to Rooting out Violent Extremism

The violent extremist ideology cannot be rooted out until an effective, coherent, comprehensive and well-reasoned counter-narrative is evolved. For that, all the theological, religious, political, historical, instrumental and socio-psychological underpinnings of the global jihadism have to be counter-argued and dismantled.

‘Erdoğan to take action against Hizmet after restructuring judiciary’

Despite Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s continual accusations that the faith-based Hizmet movement is plotting against him through recordings that have implicated Erdoğan and his son Bilal in bribery and corruption, the prime minister has refrained from filing any lawsuits against members of the Hizmet movement, which has raised questions from analysts.

Turkish engagement with Southern Africa depends on the Turkish attitude towards Hizmet

Turkish engagement with Southern Africa will not be without challenges. The success of this engagement will depend on the Turkish attitude towards the Hizmet Movement. If Turkey decides to tackle the Hizmet Movement head on as it has done in Turkey and in other countries, it will risk alienation in South Africa and the wider region. The Hizmet Movement is generally popular in Southern Africa, with long standing ties to civil society and the political elite.

Gülen withdraws libel complaint after housewife apologizes

Prominent Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen on Tuesday withdrew a complaint of libel against a housewife who had insulted him with treason in one of her tweets but later apologized, saying she had been influenced by the language of the political leadership.

Ongoing political raids against schools and businesses are unconstitutional

Inspectors from the tax, finance, fire, social security, environment and urbanization, food, agriculture and husbandry bureaus were brought to the school with Smuggling and Organized Crime Police while the students were in session. Such raids have occurred repeatedly across the educational institutions’ branches, along with other schools, on an almost daily basis.

Government circular bans Gülen followers from collecting sacrificed animal skins

A recent government circular sent to police departments across Turkey told police to seize the skins of sacrificed animals during Eid al-Adha collected on behalf of the “Fethullah Gülen terrorist organization” (FETÖ) — a derogatory term President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his political associates developed in order to disparage the faith-based Gülen movement, which is […]

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

Hopefully the Gulen movement will help change the American values

Are Gülen’s remarks on talks with PKK really surprising?

Islamic scholar Gülen calls for calm among supporters

Watch out! Anatolian Tigers on the prowl

Government cuts off funds for disabled child over father’s Gülen links

Sacrificing a legend for a shoebox*

Turkey’s Erdogan and unending human rights repression

Copyright 2023 Hizmet News