Ercan Karakoyun is the face of the Gülen community in Germany. The 31-year-old runs the Forum for Intercultural Dialogue (FID) in Berlin, which has Gülen as its honorary chairman. Karakoyun, the son of Turkish immigrants, meets with visitors in an office at the city's prestigious Potsdamer Platz which has light-blue carpeting and plain, functional furniture.
Karakoyun found his way to the movement through a "brother" who addressed him in front of a mosque in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia when he was a teenager. He began reading Gülen's books. He accompanied the "brother" to Turkey and became involved in the cemaat, recruiting new members at the university and in high schools. He rose up through the hierarchy until he became a "brother" himself.
Speaking in eloquent German, Karakoyun says that whenever he and his Gülen community organize events, they receive letters, emails and calls from what he terms "the usual suspects" -- people who want to harm the movement and see it as a dangerous sect. He characterizes all of this as "conspiracy theories.'
Karakoyun divides the world into two groups: "critics" and "sympathizers." As examples of critics, he cites Western Islamophobes, Turkish ultranationalists and the terrorists of the Kurdish PKK. Sympathizers, he says, are all people who are interested in "dialogue, tolerance and peaceful coexistence for the benefit of all."