The Imam's Army

The chapters:
Who are the Nurcus?
Who is Fethullah Gülen?
 Infiltrating the Police
Trial of the Gülden Parish
Avcı, Ergenekon and Epilogue

The Imam's Army (Turkish: İmamın Ordusu) is a book by Turkish journalist Ahmet Şık on the life and work of Fethullah Gülen and his Gülen movement.

Şık was detained in March 2011, before the book was published, and the draft book was seized by the government and banned, claiming it was an "illegal organizational document" of the secret organization Ergenekon.

Şık was detained pending trial, being eventually released pending trial in March 2012. In the interim, in an act of anti-censorship defiance, a version of the book was released in November 2011 under the name 000Kitap (000Book), edited by 125 journalists, activists and academics, and published by Postacı Publishing House.

On 3 March 2011 eleven people were detained in Istanbul and Ankara, including the journalists Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener. On 6 March they and another seven people were arrested on the allegation they were members of the secret organization Ergenekon.

On or around 23 March Istanbul Heavy Penal Court 12 ordered the confiscation of a draft for a book that Ahmet Şık wanted to publish under the title of "The Imam's Army".On 1 April 2011 unknown people made the book available on the Internet, and over 200,000 copies were downloaded.

Şık was indicted in the Ergenekon Odatv case because of The Imam's Army, a copy of which was allegedly found on odatv computers. On 26 August 2011 İstanbul prosecutor Cihan Kansız sent a 134-page indictment on 14 defendants, 12 of them in pre-trial detention to the newly founded Istanbul Heavy Penal Court 16. One of the imprisoned defendants was Ahmet Şık.

The charges included membership or support of an armed organization and incitement to hatred and enmity. Ahmet Şık was charged with support of an armed organization.On 13 September 2011 Istanbul Heavy Penal Court 16 decided that the trial would start on 22 November 2011.

The printing house, İthaki, was the publisher that owned the rights to "İmamın Ordusu" (The Army of the Imam),but in an act of anti-censorship defiance, a version of the book was released in November 2011 under the name 000Kitap (000Book), edited by 125 journalists, activists and academics, and published by Postacı Publishing House.

Şık was released pending trial on 12 March 2012 along with fellow defendants Coşkun Musluk, Sait Çakır (tr), and Nedim Şener.

The book deals with the religious community of the Turkish Islamic preacher and former imam Fethullah Gülen, usually referred to as the Gülen movement. This fact has led to suspicions that Şık was arrested due to the book's contents, rather than his involvement in the alleged Ergenekon organization, which he has worked as a journalist to expose.

The co-author of Ahmet Şık's earlier books on Ergenekon, Ertuğrul Mavioğlu, made a summary of the book.

In the book, there are long passages on the life of Fethullah Gülen, already contained in many articles and books, but the book offers further details on the conflict between Necmettin Erbakan and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

The book also presents confessions of one of the founders of the Akyazılı Foundation that in 1966 became the basis for the establishment of the Gülen movement. The book also explains how Gülen developed schools and made use of certain media institutions.

Relating to the government of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the book details the installment of members of the Gülen community into the Turkish bureaucracy. The question is asked whether the community includes most members of the armed unit of the police.The Democratic Turkey Forum has translated some passages of the book into English.

In his draft book, Şık draws heavily on other sources, including quoting extensively from intelligence reports from before the AKP came to power in 2002 and more recent work by other journalists and analysts. Proponents of Gülen have said that "the book aims to create a sensation, rather than provide objective information".

At the time of his arrest, Ahmet Sik had almost completed work on a new book that was supposed to be published in May. The book, titled "Imamin Ordusu" ("The Imam's Army"), contains explosive material. It describes in detail how followers of the Islamic theologian Fethullah Gülen have allegedly infiltrated the Turkish police since the mid-1980s.

Gülen's followers currently comprise by far the most influential Islamic brotherhood in Turkey. The Gülen movement is mainly known outside Turkey because of its schools, which are also present in Germany. Fethullah Gülen has lived in exile in the US since a trial in the 1990s. In interviews, he likes to cultivate the image of an old, wise, tolerant Islamic scholar.

According to Fikret Ilkiz, Ahmet Sik had found out that "80 percent" of the Turkish police force already belongs to the Gülen movement. It is of secondary importance whether the value is really that high. The key thing is that anyone who criticizes the movement is currently at risk in Turkey.

 "The Imam's Army," has unsettled the Gülen movement and the AKP government. The public prosecutor and investigative judges claim that the book was commissioned by the Ergenekon network, in order to foment unrest in the run-up to the election. They made possession of the unpublished manuscript a punishable crime, and hundreds of police have since been searching for copies.

Authorities were unable to stop "The Imam's Army" from being posted, in its entirety, on the Web. By the end of its first day online alone, the book had been downloaded more than 100,000 times. The next day, a public reading of the book took place on Istanbul's central Taksim Square, attended by hundreds of the journalist's supporters.

Reaction to the book has been so overwhelming that public prosecutors had to declare that they would not -- at least initially -- pursue people who had downloaded the book via the Internet. More importantly, after almost four years in office, the leading special prosecutor in the case, Zekeriya Öz, has been reappointed to another post.

From: 123686_Travel Briefing for the visit of George and Meredith to Turkey

Issues in Domestic Politics
Ergenekon Arrests / Gulen, AKP and US
Turkish politics is dominated for a while by arrests of two journalists, Nedim Sener and Ahmet Sik. The arrests were the latest round of previous arrests of soldiers and other journalists within the Sledgehammer/Ergenekon probe. But there are reasons that arrests of these two journalists became so important.

First reason is the book that Ahmet Sik has been working on. It was titled “Imam’s Army”, referring to Gulen Movement’s clout on the Turkish police, in police intelligence in particular. The book was not published at the time he was arrested, and it is still not published. Second reason is that Turkish media (even the parts that wholeheartedly supported Ergenekon case so far) stood against arrests of these two individuals because there is a consensus that they have nothing to do with Ergenekon-like organization that aims to topple the AKP government via illegal means. In fact, Nedim Sener has co-authored two books that deciphered Ergenekon individuals. So, both journalists are known with their stance against Ergenekon probes, not in favor.

I can easily say that this is the first time that I see the public opinion turning against AKP-Gulen ambitions and the way that they use Ergenekon/Sledgehammer probes so recklessly to crackdown on their opponents. Many journalists (including supporters of Ergenekon probe) made remarks revealing their fear of freedom of expression, limits of media etc. As expected, European Union also criticized Turkey a lot for this.

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