The New Turkey
Gulen movement. Is it conservative or moderate?

January 4, 2018

LogoGulen's movement is akin to a modern religion such as Scientology that demands total lifelong dedication and complete obedience to the "master teacher."

It preaches a radical version of Islam and ultimately aims to destroy the secular order in Turkey and beyond. It is easy to see all of that if one goes behind the movement's carefully cultivated façade, with its pious verbiage of interfaith dialogue, peace, and Islamic enlightenment, and looks directly into the writings of Gulen that inform his movement's ideology.

For instance, in a book describing the brilliance of Mohammed as a military commander, the master teacher explains that Islamic
enmity toward the infidels is actually a form of compassion toward them, because by being non-believers they commit injustice. This type of "compassion" evidently justifies Muslims' conquering and killing the infidels. It is, writes Gulen, "incumbent upon those who believe in One God and worship Him faithfully to secure justice in the world.

Islam calls this responsibility jihad." There is no doubt as to what the ultimate purpose of jihad is in Gulen's view: "It seeks to convey the Message of Islam to all human beings in the world and to establish a model Islamic community on a worldwide basis." Less-sophisticated jihadists call this simply the Caliphate.

Source: www.aina.org/news/20140118162409.htm or as pdf.doc



sect is a subgroup of a religious, political, or philosophical belief system, usually an offshoot of a larger group. Although the term was originally a classification for religious separated groups, it can now refer to any organization that breaks away from a larger one to follow a different set of rules and principles.

The Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i and Hanbali Sunnis, the Twelver groups, the Ismā'īlī groups, the Zaydis, the Ibadis, and the Ẓāhirīs continue to exist. In addition, new sects like Ahmadiyya movement, Black Muslim movements, Gülen movement, Quranists, Salafis,Wahhabis, and Zikris have been emerged independently. (3)



Islam, Secularism and the Battle for Turkey's Future 
Stratfor e-mail sent August 23, 2010 | 1217 GMT  and published on Wkikileaks with an analysis of the power struggle in Turkey. It says among other things:

Inside Turkey, the Gulen movement follows a determined agenda that  aims to replace the Kemalist elite and transform Turkey into a more  religiously conservative society. Outside Turkey, Gulen presents itself  as a multifaith global organization working to bring businesses,  religious leaders, politicians, journalists and average citizens  together. Sourch 


From the Stratfor doc. Islam, Secularism And the Battle for Turkey's Future made Date 2010-09-21:

The charismatic imam Fethullah Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania, leads the transnational organization, along with a small group of “wise men.” Inside Turkey, the Gulen movement seeks to replace the Kemalist elite and transform Turkey into a more religiously conservative society.
Outside Turkey, Gulen presents itself as a multifaith global organization working to bring businesses, religious leaders, politicians, journalists and average citizens together. (1)


5. (C) The officials reportedly also warned of the threat posed by alumni of Turkish Fetullah Gulen high schools, noting that they were especially dangerous because of their "high intelligence, ability to stick together, and experience studying abroad." (Note: The Fetullah Gulen movement is a conservative Islamist movement with a broad following in Turkey, that has built a worldwide network of schools - ref A.) (2)





Stratfor e-mail:
.........................Since the police were not a powerful force to be reckoned with at the time, they were not scrutinized as heavily by the secularists within the security establishment. As a result, background checks for police officers were more lax, allowing religious conservatives to gradually increase their presence in the institution under the Gulen movementa**s guidance. (4)
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......................... The charismatic imam Fethullah Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania, leads the transnational organization, along with a small group of “wise men.†Inside Turkey, the movement seeks to replace the Kemalist elite and transform Turkey into a more religiously conservative society. Outside Turkey, Gulen presents itself as a multifaith global organization working to bring together businessmen, religious leaders, politicians, journalists and ordinary citizens. (13)


The FGC is considered a modernist off-shoot of Sufi Nurcu tariqat (religious order) in Turkey. The movement aims to transform Turkey through conservative social values. Many academics describe the FGC as a neo-Nurcu movement. Gulen, a spiritual and charismatic preacher who has been known to cry during interviews and public sermons, is the founder and leader of his own branch of Nurcu Islam.

Meanwhile, some alarmist secular Turks assert without proof that the FGC is funded by the CIA to promote moderate Islam in Turkey as well as in Central Eurasia - it is interesting to note that in 2007, Russia started a crackdown on FGC infrastructure for its 'extremist' nature. (5)


US-Cable:
Gulen has also attracted steady interest among commentators. Some writers, mainly those who write for the Gulenist daily "Zaman" or who teach at the Gulenist Fatih University in Istanbul, or who have otherwise identified themselves with his movement, assert that Gulen's public message of "dialogue" is a more mature expression of Islam. Given the Gulenists' penetration of the National Police (TNP) and many media outlets and their record of going after anyone who criticizes Gulen, others who are skeptical about Gulen's intentions feel intimidated from expressing their views publicly. Privately they note:

(1) Gulen's sharply radical past as a fiery Islamist preacher in the 1970's-1980's;
(2) his ruthlessness in banishing people from his more inner circles (Gulenists have admitted to us that they are petrified of making a "mistake");
(3) his and his inner circles' insistence that followers of Gulen mediate their study of Islam totally through his writings, i.e. no tolerance of dissent or critical thinking; and
(4) the cult-like obedience and conformity that he and the layers of his movement insist on in his global network of schools, his media outlets, and his business associations.
(6)


US-Cable:
The officials reportedly also warned of the threat posed by alumni of Turkish Fetullah Gulen high schools, noting that they were especially dangerous because of their "high intelligence, ability to stick together, and experience studying abroad." (Note: The Fetullah Gulen movement is a conservative Islamist movement with a broad following in Turkey, that has built a worldwide network of schools - ref A.) They added that the GOU has compiled a list of all the "Gulen" alumni.

The fears over "Gulen" alumni could also reflect its wider concern over students and professionals who have benefited from any kind of foreign influenced, particularly Western style, education programs. The GOU has cracked down on studying abroad, especially in the United States, for fear of losing control over the future orientation of the nation's youth. (7)


US-Cable:
............The Gulenist doctrine, with its conservative and religiously observant undercurrent, has met fierce hostility in regimes such as Russia, which expelled the Gulenists en masse in the 1990s. ........................(8)


US-Cable:
..................Gulen, much more militant when he began in the early 1970's, is the spiritual leader of an Islamic movement that officially professes to be interested in ecumenical understanding but whose roots are intensely Islamic. The movement works in the manner of other Islamic tarikats (brotherhoods) but is relatively more hierarchical and disciplined. (9)


US-Cable:
........The officials reportedly also warned of the threat posed by alumni of Turkish Fetullah Gulen high schools, noting that they were especially dangerous because of their "high intelligence, ability to stick together, and experience studying abroad." (Note: The Fetullah Gulen movement is a conservative Islamist movement with a broad following in Turkey, that has built a worldwide network of schools - ref A.) (10)


Sibel Edmonds testimony before the Ohio Elections Commission about Fethullah Gulen:

"And when he was wanted in Turkey
for that and he was going to go to jail, he
actually got on the plane and came to the United States, and he was given immediately visa to stay in the United States, and he has been in the United States until now as far as I know.

He has since established more than
300 madrasahs in Central Asia and what he calls universities that have a front that is called Moderate Islam, but he is closely involved in training mujahideen-like militia Islam who are brought from Pakistan and Afghanistan into Central Asia where his madrasahs operate, and his organization's network is estimated to be around $25billion.

He has opened several Islamic universities in the United States. As I said it's being promoted under Moderate Islam. It is supported by certain U.S. authorities here because of the operations in Central Asia, but what they have been doing since late 1990s is actually radical Islam and militizing (phonetic) these very, very young, from the age 14, 15, by commandoes they use, and this is both commandoes from Turkish military, commandoes from Pakistani ISI in Central Asia and Azerbaijan, and after that they bring them to Turkey, and from Turkey they send them through Europe, to European and elsewhere.

Up until 1999, the Turkish government, also paramilitary units in Central Asia, they operated under the groups that call themselves Gray Wolves, ultra-nationalists, and their method was, you know, assassination of certain leaders in the Central Asian countries, and militizing, but not through."


............Veren explained how Gülen ordered his followers to infiltrate the judiciary, military, police department and other state institutions decades ago. "I attended a quite confidential meeting held by Gülen in 1996.

Gülen told them to seize the military, police department and judiciary. We had thought that we were training children to be conservative and be useful to the nation. My whole world was shattered there," Veren said.
Having warned Gülen about his intentions, Veren was dismissed from the core squad. "He sent me a letter after I warned him. They put a ban on me. They told me not to come near him or his followers," he added.....................


MOVEMENT THRIVES WITH PREP SCHOOLS, PRIVATE SCHOOLS

When asked about how Gülen's power in Turkey strengthened further, Veren pointed to prep schools for high school students who wanted to enter university and the legalization of opening private schools.

"After Turgut Özal was elected prime minister in 1983, he legalized the opening of private schools by foundations and companies," Veren said. He said that the new law paved the way for Gülen to open conservative schools where students are educated in accordance with his ideologies.Veren said that Gülen saw another opportunity at the time. "Half the students who took the university exam were not able to enroll because of quotas. That's when Gülen proposed to open prep schools for the students," Veren explained.


His followers call Gulen ‘Hocaefendi,’ which in Turkish translates roughly as “master teacher,” and he is famous for praying in the middle of the night–an extra sign of devotion on top of Islam’s usual tenets–and for his prayers sometimes having the appearance of being answered, Simsek said. “Last year, it was snow season and it was supposed to snow, but it hadn’t yet, so Hocaefendi asked everyone to pray for snow,” he said. “The next day it snowed.” (11)


A Sect Like Scientology
People who have broken ties to Gülen and are familiar with the inner workings of this community tell a different story. They characterize the movement as an ultraconservative secret society, a sect not unlike the Church of Scientology. And they describe a world that has nothing to do with the pleasant images from the cultural Olympics.

These critics say that the religious community (known as the "cemaat" in Turkish) educates its future leaders throughout the world in so-called "houses of light," a mixture of a shared student residence and a Koran school. They describe Gülen as their guru, an ideologue who tolerates no dissent, and who is only interested in power and influence, not understanding and tolerance. They say that he dreams of a new age in which Islam will dominate the West.


....................... It has substantial investments in media, finance, and for-profit health clinics. Despite its teachings that are considered conservative even in Turkey, some have praised the movement as a pacifist, modern-oriented version of Islam, and as an alternative to more extreme schools of Islam such as Salafism. But it has also been accused of having "global, apocalyptic ambition", a "cultish hierarchy"] and of being a secretive Islamic sect. (12)



(1) https://wikileaks.org/gifiles/docs/32/327697_executive-summary-reva-.html - Or here as Word doc.

(2) https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/06TASHKENT1707_a.html

(3) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sect

(4) https://wikileaks.org/gifiles/docs/19/190355_gobble-gobble-.html

(5) https://wikileaks.org/gifiles/docs/15/1532300_gulen-movement-turkey-s-third-power-.html

(6) https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/05ISTANBUL1336_a.html

(7) https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/06TASHKENT1707_a.html

(8) https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/09ANKARA1722_a.html

(9) https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/03ANKARA1516_a.html

(10) https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/06TASHKENT1707_a.html

(11) http://hizmetmovement.blogspot.com.es/2016/08/compound-where-fethullah-gulen-lives4.html

(12) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%BClen_movement

(13) https://wikileaks.org/gifiles/docs/34/340170_executive-summary-2-reva-.html

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