The Turkish media – or what is left of it – has already found Fethullah Gülen guilty of the coup attempt on July 15. When challenged about the evidence, the most common reply is “Come to Turkey and see” or “Everyone in Turkey thinks this way.” This almost unanimous opinion is not a coincidence, and it does imply a monopoly over the Turkish media rather than any objective fact.
What is going on in Turkey right now reminds me very much of the last few scenes in the first Godfather movie, where Michael Corleone is settling all of the Family’s outstanding business. Corleone is seen in church renouncing “Satan and all his works” while he participates in the baptism of his nephew—shortly before garroting the baby’s father, Carl.
You insist your movement is peaceful, not political. But multiple sources tell me that Hizmet has a dark side — where individuals are carefully groomed to enter government and related professions with the intent of an ultimate takeover. Is this true? If not, is it possible that these sorts of activities are happening without your knowledge?
Police seized Gülen’s 1,500 books; 24 CDs featuring Gülen’s speeches; TL 435,200 ($148,000) along with $99,200 and 700 euros; several laptops; two guns and some digital data, during operations targeting the alleged terrorist network of the movement.
The group has been active in Germany for many years, operating 150 tutoring centres in the country, 30 government-recognised schools and a dozen interfaith dialogue projects. It has long been seen as a moderate Islamic group although it has faced criticism over a lack of transparency.
With its leafy playing fields and historic buildings on the site of a former British army barracks, the Wilhelmsdtadt School in the Berlin suburb of Spandau could easily be mistaken for a English boarding school.
In the late evening of Friday, July 15, word spread across the world that a coup was under way in Turkey. The president was missing, the military announced it had taken control of the country, and a few hours later, in the early hours Saturday morning, the coup was over.
Turks, who make up the majority of Germany’s immigrant community, claim their schools and mosques are being spied on by Erdogan’s undercover agents to root out supporters of Fethullah Gülen – the man the Turkish president claims is behind July’s bloody military coup.
Hizmet is an Islamic movement with activities in more than 180 countries. To its followers, the gulenists, Gulen — a man with swallow feet and low voice who says he spends most of his time praying and studying — is a democrat in favor of the Turkish democratization.