|Gülen was the first to flee abroad, in March 21, 1999, to escape prosecution on charges of trying to topple the government.
January 15, 2017
Gulen learned Arabic and religion from his father. In 1953 he began his career as a government preacher (the only legal position a preacher can hold in Turkey) and in 1958, took up a teaching position at a mosque in Edirne. Four years later, he transferred to Izmir where his movement began and came to be known by some as the “Izmir Community.” (2)
Fethullah Gülen was first active in the New Asia group, the biggest fan in the Nur Parish. He was particularly known for his sermons. He defended that it was wrong to put daily politics in front of everything. Their aim was to tell the society the truth of faith.
When he found support among businessmen he left the New Asia group in 1970 and formed the group that is known by his name. In 1978 the Turkish Teacher Foundation (Türkiye Öğretmenler Vakfı, TÖV-İzmir) started to publish the journal “Leakage” (Sızıntı).
Because of the negative image of the term Nurculuk he never said that he was a Nurcu. When quoting Said Nursi he did not mention his name. With the help of businessmen he founded many companies and foundations and opened many schools, dormitories and classes. An intense activity of trade can be observed. (1)
FETHULLAH GULEN’S OWN IDEAS
Concluding that the democratic form of government is the best choice, Gulen is very critical of the regimes in Iran and Saudi Arabia. He accepts Said Nursi’s argument that the idea of republicanism is very much in accord with the idea of “consultation” discussed in Islamic sources. Moreover, he fears that an authoritarian regime would impose strict control on differing ideas. At the same time, though, Gulen views the state's role as important in “protecting stability.”
Gulen's goals are simultaneously to Islamize the Turkish nationalist ideology and to Turkify Islam. He hopes to re-establish the link between religion and state that existed in the Ottoman era, when leaders were expected to live their private lives based on Islamic regulations.
Gulen holds that the Anatolian people’s interpretations and experiences of Islam are different from those of others, especially the Arabs. He writes of an “Anatolian Islam” based on tolerance and excluding harsh restrictions or fanaticism and frequently emphasizes that there should be freedom of worship and thought in Turkey.
On May 14, 2010 six Turkish-American federations, which have close proximity to Mr. Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish cleric and the exiled leader of the Turkey-based religious Gülen Movement joined to form the Assembly of Turkic American Federations, or ATAF.
"It is the "Turkic American Federations," not Turkish, because this umbrella organization represents not only those Turks who are from Turkey, but those "citizens from Central Asia, Anatolia and the Balkans... as part of [America's] cultural mosaic" the website of the ATAF notes.