Fethullah Gülen's Grand Ambition Turkey's Islamist Danger

by Rachel Sharon-Krespin Middle East Quarterly Winter 2009, pp. 55-66 As Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP) begins its seventh year in leadership, Turkey is no longer the secular and democratic country that it was when the party took over. The AKP has conquered the bureaucracy and changed Turkey's fundamental identity. Prior to the AKP's rise, Ankara oriented itself toward the United States and Europe. Today, despite the rhetoric of European Union accession, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has turned Turkey away from Europe and toward Russia and Iran and reoriented Turkish policy in the Middle East away from sympathy toward Israel and much more toward friendship with Hamas, Hezbollah, and Syria. Anti-American, anti-Christian, and anti-Semitic sentiments have increased. Behind Turkey's transformation has been not only the impressive AKP political machine but also a shadowy Islamist sect led by the mysterious hocaefendi (master lord) Fethullah Gülen; the sect often bills itself as a proponent of tolerance and dialogue but works toward purposes quite the opposite. Today, Gülen and his backers (Fethullahcılar, Fethullahists) not only seek to influence government but also to become the government. Today, Turkey has over 85,000 active mosques, one for In 1998, Fethullah Gülen left Turkey for every 350 citizens—compared to one hospital for every the United States, reportedly to receive 60,000 citizens—the highest number per capita in the medical treatment for diabetes. Since world and, with 90,000 imams, more imams than his voluntary exile, Gülen has resided doctors or teachers. It has thousands of madrasa-like on a large, rural estate in eastern Imam-Hatip schools and about four thousand more Pennsylvania, together with about 100 official state-run Qur'an courses, not counting the followers, who guard him and tend to unofficial Qur'an schools, which may expand the total his needs. It is from his U.S. base that number tenfold. Spending by the governmental Gülen has built his fame and his Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet Işleri transnational empire. Başkanlığı) has grown five fold, from 553 trillion Turkish lira in 2002 (approximately US$325 million) to 2.7 quadrillion lira during the first fourand-a-half years of the AKP government; it has a larger budget than eight other ministries combined.[1] The Friday prayer attendance rate in Turkey's mosques exceeds that of Iran's, and religion classes teaching Sunni Islam are compulsory in public schools despite rulings against the practice by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the Turkish high court (Danıştay).[2] Both Prime Minister Erdoğan and the Diyanet head Ali Bardakoğlu criticized the rulings for failing to consult Islamic scholars. Gülen now helps set the political agenda in Turkey using his followers in the AKP as well as the movement's vast media empire, financial institutions and banks, business organizations, an international network of thousands of schools, universities, student residences (ışıkevis), and many associations and foundations. He is a financial heavyweight, controlling an unregulated and opaque budget estimated at $25 billion.[3] It is not clear whether the Fethullahist cemaat

reportedly to receive medical treatment for diabetes. They follow their hocaefendi's orders and even refrain from marrying until age fifty per his instructions. colleges. occasionally harassed by the staunchly secular military. and was. Western republic.[5] a catalyst of "moderate Islam" for Turkey and beyond.(community) supports the AKP or is the ruling force behind AKP. the Turkish security service arrested him for clandestine religious activities. However. and student dormitories throughout Turkey. Gülen's right-hand man for thirty-five years. Gülen's aim is not altruistic: His followers target youth in the eighth . that the new republic be based on Islamic principles. He turned against Atatürk and his reforms and against the new modern. Gülen has resided on a large. as well as private universities. and Jewish rabbis[8] and emphasizes the commonalities unifying Abrahamic religions. also known as Sa'id-i Nursi. and educator[6] even though his formal education is limited to five years of elementary school. as dictated by Gülen himself. the founder of the Islamist Nur (light) movement. Kurdi demanded. his absence also enabled Gülen to escape questioning on his indictment in 2000 for allegedly promoting insurrection in Turkey in a series of secretly-recorded sermons. who guard him and tend to his needs. Outside Turkey. scholar. He is praised in the West.[11] It is from his U. such as running illegal summer camps to indoctrinate youths. Gülen's Background Born in Erzurum. together with about 100 followers. He presents himself and his movement as the modern-day version of tolerant. To build an image as a proponent of interfaith dialogue. In 1998. however. rural estate in eastern Pennsylvania. to which it donates money—hold conferences in the United States and Europe to discuss Gülen. estimated that some 75 percent of Turkey's two million preparatory school students are enrolled in Gülen institutions. other Christian clergy. in 1942. their spouses are expected to dress in the Islamic manner. base that Gülen has built his fame and his transnational empire. In 1971. In October 2007. Either way. Gülen's Education Network The core of Gülen's network is his educational institutions. its proxy organizations. Turkey. pretending to share their moderate teachings. as an intellectual. After receiving an imam-preacher certificate. the British House of Lords feted Gülen with a conference in his honor. and universities—including Georgetown. he formally retired from his post as a local preacher. he served as an imam. the largest being Fatih University in Istanbul. When they do marry. These servants are educated men who wear suits and ties and do not look like traditional Islamists in cloaks and turbans. from that time on. Since his voluntary exile. The movement. the effect is the same.S. in an address to the new parliament. Gülen was a student and follower of Sheikh Sa'id-i Kurdi (1878-1960). Nurettin Veren. His school network is impressive.[12] He controls thousands of top-tier secondary schools. Gülen met Pope John Paul II. especially in the United States.[9] Quotes from their teachings adorn Fethullah's Gülen's propaganda material. liberal Anatolian Sufism and has used the literature of great Sufi thinkers such as Jalal ad-Din Rumi and Yunus Emre. his movement runs hundreds of secondary schools and dozens of universities in 110 countries worldwide. Fethullah Gülen is an imam who considers himself a prophet.[7] In 1981. first in Erdirne and later in Izmir. many in the West applaud him as a reformist and advocate for tolerance. Gülen departed for the United States. secular.[10] After Turkey's war of independence.[4] An enigmatic figure.

'" Balcı explained."[16] The schools of Gülen's Nur movement in Central Asia have worked to reestablish Islam in a region largely secularized by decades of Soviet control. "The aim of the cemaat is to educate and influence future national elites. and five former Gülen followers who had worked in Gülen's ışıkevi told Dutch television that the Gülen community was moving step-by-step to topple the secular order. and prepare them for future careers in legal. educate them in the Fethullah schools. Yusuf Ziya Özcan.[15] Abdullah Gül. and transferred thousands of certified imams from their positions in the Directorate of Religious Affairs to positions as teachers and administrators in Turkey's public schools. In his Institut d'Etudes Politiques doctoral thesis on Gülen schools in Central Asia. There are ministers in the government. religiously-sanctioned dissimulation. Dozens of Fethullah's ‘Turkish schools' abroad— most of which are for boys—are used to covertly ‘convert.[18] Neither Uzbekistan nor Russia are known for their pluralism. Turkey's first Islamist president and a Gülen sympathizer. They consult Gülen before doing anything. Balcı explained. In 2008. emphasized religion courses. Turkish state. wealthy followers continue to open schools and ışıkevi in what Sabah columnist Emre Aköz called "the education jihad. Taking their orders from Fethullah Gülen. the Erdoğan government has changed textbooks. to head Turkey's Council of Higher Education (Yükseköğretim Kurulu. and educational professions in order to create the ruling classes of the future Islamist. wrote. Uzbekistan has banned the schools for encouraging Islamic law. Beyond Turkey. He has also used his presidential prerogative to appoint Gülen sympathizers to university presidencies. "These schools are like shop windows. Recruitment and Islamization activities are carried out through night classes . "He wants to revive the link between state. YÖK). "Fethullah's aim is the Islamization of Turkish nationality and the Turcification of Islam in foreign countries.' not so much ‘in school. but suspicion about Gülen indoctrination has spread even to more permissive societies such as that of the Netherlands. was typical in the movement's interactions with the West.[19] While the organizations in question denied any ties to the Gülen movement."[14] The AKP's controversial education policies. and society. During AKP's first term in government. judges.. There are governors. have accelerated the Islamization of Turkish society. religion. has banned not only the Gülen schools but all activities of the entire Nur sect in the country. In a 2006 interview. Zürcher said that taqiya. appointed a Gülenaffiliated professor.' but through direct proselytism ‘outside school."[13] The overt network of schools is only one part of a larger strategy.. a French scholar of Turkish origin. mentor and indoctrinate them in the ışıkevi. director of the Amsterdam-based International Institute for Social History. An unnamed former Gülen follower who also once worked in Gülen schools and ışıkevi reported that Fethullahists . military officers.through twelfth grades. weary of the movement's activities in majority Muslim regions of the federation. the Fethullahist schools also serve as fertile recruiting grounds. Bayram Balcı. coupled with the Islamist indoctrination in Fethullahist schools. who will speak English and Turkish and who will one day prove their good intentions towards Fethullahists and towards Turkey. Labor. members of the Netherland's Christian Democrat. and Conservative parties agreed to cut several million euros in government funding for organizations affiliated with "the Turkish imam Fethullah Gülen" and to thoroughly investigate the activities of the Gülen group after Erik Jan Zürcher.[17] and the Russian government." Several countries in the region have taken steps against Gülen's educational institutions because of such suspicions. political. Children whom we educated in Turkey are now in the highest positions. Veren said.

… I was at the top of my class when I graduated from the police academy. Fethullahists began organizing inside the security apparatus in the 1970s. may have consequences. the AKP blocked my promotions. lectures. blasphemous infidels" and that they said "the best Dutchman is one who has converted to Islam. of the thousands of Fethullahist schools in more than one hundred countries that allegedly teach moderation. students were being taken to ışıkevi by class commissioners. [26] Wiretapping scandals in spring 2008 also highlighted Gülenist penetration of the security service's most important units. fax. At present. SMS text messaging. and Internet communications. former director of the organized crimes unit within the Istanbul Directorate of Security. … Belonging to a certain cemaat has become a prerequisite for advancement in the force. After 2002."[21] Adil Serdar Saçan. Turkish police arrested Saçan on suspicion of involvement in the so-called Ergenekon plot to overthrow the Turkish state. Many police commissioners get their orders from imams. the numbers speak for themselves. and most appear instead geared to radicalize students in secular Muslim and nonMuslim societies.[23] In October 2008.200 employees. only seventeen indicated that they would not be fasting.[27] Turks have grown uneasy about having telephone conversations fearing intrusion into their privacy. over 80 percent of the officers at supervisory level in the general security organization are members of the [Gülen] cemaat. They promoted only those officers whose files were tainted with allegations that they were engaged in reactionary Islamist activities. All the Dutch must be made Muslims. however. One of those commissioners is now the director of intelligence at the Turkish Directorate of Security. those in the directorate who did not have ties to the [Gülen] organization were all pensioned off or fired in 2002 when the AKP came to power. as Fethullahist officials have purged officials more loyal to the republic than the hocaefendi."[20] Indeed. "There are imam security directors. Eviscerating Checks and Balances Fethullahists have also made inroads into Turkey's 200. . he said. Prior to Ramadan.called the Dutch "filthy. e-mail. Of the 4. In police academies.000-strong police force. is more a mechanism by which the Turkish government can harass critics. confirmed these statements in reports he prepared on the Fethullahist organization within the security apparatus. Recent leaks to pro-AKP media of recordings of military personnel meetings. Considering that some of the seventeen might have been sick or taking medications. I maintained and was honored for my stellar record. and throughout the twenty-four years of my career. According to Veren. Their infiltration has had a compounding effect.[25] Writer and journalist Merdan Yanardağ provided statistics to illuminate the Islamist penetration of the Ankara Directorate of Security. He explained.[22] Such statements. During my time at the [police] academy. in order to establish the number of meals that would be needed during that period. none are located in countries such as Saudi Arabia or Iran that exist under domineering strains of official Islam. imams wearing police uniforms.[24] Most Turkish analysts believe that the Ergenekon conspiracy. After the Turkish Security Directorate obtained a blanket court permit in April 2007 to monitor and record all the communications in Turkey including mobile and land-line telephones. In a 2006 interview. short of any evidence of unconstitutional activities. personnel at the Directorate of Security in Ankara were asked whether they would be fasting during Ramadan.

the former head of Turkey's Higher Education Council. the police used gas bombs.[33] Labor unions and opposition parties condemned the police brutality and accused Erdoğan of using police to silence opposition voices.top secret military documents. who we financially supported. strategic antiterrorism plans. several websites posted the voice recording of a secret speech delivered by Brig. In February 2008. and prominent members of the center-left opposition Republican People's Party (Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi. scores were injured. Erdoğan's own security guards abducted a 46-year-old man from Antalya for speaking out in public against his social security policies. maintains power within the state … When Gülen's students graduate from the police or military academies—as do the new . The alleged network of Fethullah followers in the security system has an impact on domestic affairs as they use restricted technology or privileged information to further their political agenda. the traditional site of demonstrations in Turkey's largest city.[34] Police also suppressed labor protests in Tuzla (Istanbul) shipyards. then governor of Diyarbakir and subsequently a counselor of Erdoğan's office.[31] Islamist newspapers including Vakit. and private information concerning Gen. Zaman.[32] The net effect of such leaks is to tar the reputations of or intimidate AKP's political opponents and the Turkish military. disclosing information about his diabetes as well as the treatments and medications he had received in the Gülhane military hospital. pepper gas. Erdoğan responded by ordering a criminal investigation against Demirci. and contents of personal conversations between state prosecutors have shocked the nation as has the appearance on the Internet video site YouTube of some of those recordings. CHP). pro-AKP media has reported alleged confidential evidence relating to the police investigation of the so-called Ergenekon plot that posits a secularist cabal of military officers. The victim alleged that his attackers said they could easily plant guns or drugs on him and kill him. taking the man to a deserted location where the guards beat and threatened him. water cannons. Münir Erten announcing the timing of an upcoming Turkish military operation into Iraqi Kurdistan.[36] While Turkey's military is guarantor of the constitution. and according to reports.[30] Others whose tapped conversations appeared on Islamist websites and in Gülen's newspaper network included Erdoğan Teziç. and clubs against workers who wanted to celebrate May Day peacefully in Istanbul's Taksim Square. journalists. Gen.[35] Similarly. educated. and assisted. Islamization within police ranks also contributes to police brutality against anti-AKP demonstrators. for example. The Islamist. Ergin Saygun's health. the head of the wiretapping unit. police have harassed individual citizens after they criticized Erdoğan's policies.[29] In June 2008. private medical files of commanders. the Islamist Vakit published Saygun's entire medical file. and other professions: The Fethullahist military officers were once our students. When these grateful children graduated and reached influential positions.[28] The following month. and professors sought to overthrow the AKP government. Veren alleged that Fethullahists had also entrenched themselves within the military. several websites including YouTube posted a secretly recorded conversation between prosecutor Salim Demirci and a colleague regarding Erdoğan and Efkan Ala. 2008. On May 1. details of a private discussion with the chief of the General Staff. police. and the pro-AKP Taraf published leaks from private conversations held inside government offices and military headquarters. is a Fethullah follower. they put themselves and their positions at the service of Fethullah Gülen … [Gülen] directs and instructs. and. Yeni Şafak. Many Turkish journalists believe that Fethullahist-dominated police tap their communications. through them. who was appointed by Erdoğan in August 2005.

com that four important legal cases had changed his thinking: the case against Aşkın. Erdoğan brought more than a hundred lawsuits against . proAKP officials have been at the forefront of some controversial trials. recent leaks to pro-AKP media suggest a number of Islamist sources within the military ranks. Now that the president is Islamist. Indeed. the Ergenekon probe. there might still be an external check to abuse of power in the Turkish media. The Turkish media has traditionally been relentless in its reporting of abuses of power and corruption. Erdoğan replaced thousands of judges and prosecutors with AKP appointees. Indeed. In his first term. Keeping [prominent] personalities in jail for over a year without indictment is inexplicable.doctors and lawyers—they present their first salaries to Fethullah Gülen as a gesture of their gratitude. it is unlikely that he would veto the appointment of Islamists to the bench. however. While such allegations may seem the stuff of conspiracy theory. uncovered in 2005. In one interview. such as the case against Van University president Yücel Aşkın. Yavuz told odatv.[40] and the Ergenekon probe. declined to expel suspected Islamists from military ranks. Newly graduated officers even bring him the swords that they receive during the graduation ceremony. the rest remain in undercover cells. military. The results of the AKP's targeting of the judicial system are already apparent as anti-secular. Yaşar Büyükanıt before he became chief of the General Staff. Such speculation gained additional credence after the August 2008 Supreme Military Council (Yüksek Askeri Şura." Yavuz also suggested Gülen's cemaat spoke differently to its members than to outsiders and that it was pursuing a political agenda that conflicted with the founding philosophy of the modern Turkish republic. for the first time. The AKP government has also aided the Gülen movement with its reorientation of the judiciary. "The cemaat has attempted to steer all four cases. Soon after assuming office. the Atabeyler operation. Gülen has argued that the military expels no more than one in forty Islamist officers. YAŞ). Erdoğan proved intolerant of the concept of a free press. And now it's Ergenekon. how they defamed Yucel Aşkın. and courts might normally protect rule-of-law from within official Turkish government structures. it now appears that the government intends to appoint thousands more to judicial positions. such as University of Utah political scientist Hakan Yavuz. and.[41] The Fifth Estate If the police.[38] The AKP has also enacted a law that would require applicants for judgeships to first interview with AKP bureaucrats in order better to gauge and adjudicate applicants' adherence to Islam. Erdoğan lashes out at media organs that he does not control. it is such overtly political and vindictive prosecutions that have led some former Gülen sympathizers. which. to a change of heart. Yavuz explained. Look at the slanderous reports in archives of the cemaat's newspapers.[37] According to Veren. Over the first five years of his rule.[39] the Şemdinli investigation in which the prosecutor tried to implicate Gen. The AKP government has systematically sought to create a media monopoly to speak with one voice and on behalf of the government. He accused Fethullahists of "co-optation" and said that they were recruiting people and paying them money—without any formal receipts or records—to write and speak favorably about the movement while criticizing the secular Turkish state. as did his predecessor Ahmet Necdet Sezer. the Semdinli case. creating speculation that followers of Gülen now populate the senior infrastructure of the Turkish General Staff. most recently. involving an organized crime group with alleged plans to assassinate Prime Minister Erdoğan.

Turkish television aired footage of Gülen delivering sermons to a crowd of followers in which he revealed his aspirations for an Islamist Turkey ruled by Shari‘a (Islamic law) as well as the methods that should be used to attain that goal. then sold the group to Çalık Holding. partisan prosecutors and judges. Never before. and hospitals. against many writers. doctors. Yeni Şafak. The TMSF."[42] Most of Erdoğan's lawsuits against journalists involve criticism that any other democracy would consider legitimate. Turkey's second largest media group in a predawn raid. and courts threw out others.[45] Excluding the Islamist television and radio stations. staffed by Erdoğan appointees. Bugün. In 1999. the banking sector. The number of lawsuits may be far greater. By circulation. though.[44] Sabah has since become a strong advocate of the AKP government. Vakit. the government has seized control of several media outlets and subsequently sold them to pro-AKP holdings affiliated with the Gülen community. In 2005.[43] Erdoğan lost some of his lawsuits. 2008 cover. Türkiye. Star. newspapers such as Zaman. Çalık also accompanied Gül in February and Erdoğan in April when they visited Qatar. In 2008. but that the AKP might even seek to assume control of their publications. During AKP's 6-year rule. leaving Çalik the sole bidder. has a single individual started a movement that seeks to transform Turkish society so fundamentally. Journalists know that not only does the prime minister seek to make them financially liable for any criticism. the CEO of which is Erdoğan's son-in-law. and even education. he sued the LeMan weekly humor magazine for ridiculing him in its January 30. In April 2007.sixty-three journalists in sixteen publications. a vast network of loyal bureaucrats. NGOs. partisan capitalists. he said: . partisan security and intelligence agencies. Media reports indicated that other consortiums that had initially shown interest in purchasing Sabah-ATV with their own money pulled out of the tender shortly before the bid after Erdoğan contacted them. but the effect has nonetheless been chilling. Sabah. Erdoğan declined to answer a parliamentary inquiry by a Democratic Left Party deputy demanding information on how many lawsuits Erdoğan had initiated against journalists— claiming that such information was in the realm of his private life. for example. as well as the leaders and members of parliament of all opposition parties. and labor unions. Çalık financed the purchase with public funds taken as loans from two state-owned banks and by partnering with a newly-founded. partisan universities and academia. What makes Gülen so dangerous? Gülen's own teaching and sermons provide the best answers. Gülen now wields a vocal partisan media. for example. Erdoğan demanded all party members and aides boycott newspapers owned by the Doğan Media Group after it reported on laundering of money to Islamist charities. In the sermons. TMSF) seized Sabah-ATV. such papers represent at least 40 percent of all newspaper sales in Turkey. business associations. he sued Cumhuriyet cartoonist Musa Kart for depicting him as a cat entangled in a ball of string. Qatar-based media company that bought 25 percent of Sabah shares. the governmental Saving Deposit Insurance Fund (Tasarruf Mevduatı Sigorta Fonu. Last year.[46] What Are Gülen's Intentions? Conglomerates have long had a dominant position in Turkish society. In September 2008. and Taraf all have AKP and/or Gülen-affiliated ownership. Secular businessmen such as Aydın Doğan and Mehmet Emin Karamehmet have interests not only in industry but also in media. It was Abdullah Gül who introduced Ahmet Çalık to Qatari Emir Hamad bin Khalifa during his January 2008 visit in Syria. and partisan teachers.

until we can shoulder the entire world and carry it … You must wait until such time as you have gotten all the state power. some by tekkes [Islamist lodges] … These isik homes had to be the schools.[49] Many Gülen supporters and members of the Islamist media affiliated with the cemaat suggested the sermons were somehow forged[50] but the denials are unconvincing given the video footage and reports by Gülen movement defectors. as it used to be in the mosques. Naturally we will suffer pain. until you have brought to your side all the power of the constitutional institutions in Turkey … Until that time. in yet another sermon. government helped obtain an invitation to the White House for him at a time when Erdoğan was banned from politics in Turkey due to his Islamist activities—an event viewed as a U. I have expressed my feelings and thoughts to you all—in confidence … trusting your loyalty and secrecy. you must discard the thoughts and the feelings that I expressed here. he declared. God willing … It is being born with its own culture. A nation is being born again. to give them a life. The work to be done is [in] confronting the world. with the patience of a spider. its own civilization. You must wait for the time when you are complete and conditions are ripe. the birth of millions cannot be pain-free. I know that when you leave here—[just] as you discard your empty juice boxes. In the past.You must move in the arteries of the system without anyone noticing your existence until you reach all the power centers … until the conditions are ripe. It would be like killing the chick inside.[47] In another sermon.S. or the people who govern us. It won't be easy for a nation that has accepted atheism. and we teach those who do. A nation of millions [is] being born—one that will live for long centuries. Gülen and his supporters in the U. studied.S. U. Gülen said. any step taken would be too early—like breaking an egg without waiting the full forty days for it to hatch.S. like in the tragedies in Algeria. our houses of isik [light] assumed a mission greater than that of older times. we lay our web to wait for people to get caught in the web. some by schools. or the state's laws. If they do something prematurely. a nation accustomed to running away from itself. and discussed in those houses. The permission was given by God … who wanted His name learned and talked about. If giving birth to one person is so painful. The permission did not come from the state. to come back riding on its horse. He continued. like in 1982 [in] Syria … like in the yearly disasters and tragedies in Egypt.[48] And. but it is worth all our suffering and the sacrifices. The philosophy of our service is that we open a house somewhere and. Government Support for Gülen? Many Turkish analysts believe that. We don't lay the web to eat or consume them but to show them the way to their resurrection. Now it is a painful spring that we live in. . prior to Erdoğan's election. the world will crush our heads. has accepted materialism. and Muslims will suffer everywhere. some of the duties of these houses were carried out by madrasas [Islamic schools]. The time is not yet right. It will not be easy. to blow life into their dead bodies and souls. Now. [had to be] tekkes all at the same time. they [the followers] must continue like this. had to be madrasas. When everything was closed and all doors were locked.

the Central Intelligence Agency support the Gülen movement is conventional wisdom among Turkey's secular elite even though no hard evidence exists to support such allegations. they often point to his almost 20-year residence in eastern Pennsylvania. Gülen attached twenty-nine letters of reference to his June 18. 2008 motion."[51] While the court ruling that allowed Gülen to remain in the United States may provide fodder for Turkish analysts who suggest U.S. That the U. A federal court reversed U. this time in the United States. founding director of the Saudi-financed Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding.endorsement ahead of the 2002 Turkish elections.S. decision to grant Gülen residency will enable his movement to continue to imply Washington's endorsement as the AKP and its Fethullahist supporters seek to push Turkey further away from the secularism upon which it was built.S. After the Supreme Court of Appeals in Turkey (Yargıtay) confirmed on June 24.S. When Turkey's chief prosecutor indicted the AKP for . Citizenship and Immigration Service Administrative Appeals Office erred in concluding that Gülen's work was not "scholarly" by applying an unduly narrow definition of the term. government noted that much of the acclaim Gülen touts is sponsored or financed by his own movement. the U. ambassador to Turkey Morton Abramowitz also supplied references." The Department of Homeland Security characterized Gülen as neither an expert in the field of education nor an educator but rather as "the leader of a large and influential religious and political movement with immense commercial holdings. When Turkish secularists are asked to defend the view that Gülen enjoys U. specifically. and former U. and Islamic studies should also be considered. Too often. Citizenship and Immigration Service to approve his petition for alien worker status as an alien of extraordinary ability by August 1. support for Gülen. political science. the court found that Gülen had met the requirement. 2008. government and.S. Department of Homeland Security and U. George Fidas and Graham Fuller. Two former CIA officials.S. and co-opted journalists and academics.S.S. the process is actually more revealing. The court further determined that the U. the U.[52] Regardless of the legal rationale behind his current stay. U. Indeed.S. and European media as mere paranoia.S. after receiving donations from the Gülen movement sponsored a conference in his honor. mostly from theologians or Turkish political figures close to or affiliated with his organization. Conclusions Gülen enjoys the support of many friends. concern over Gülen's activities is dismissed in the Turkish. Citizenship and Immigration Service decisions that would have denied Gülen's application for permanent residency in the United States on the basis that Gülen did not fit the criteria as someone with "extraordinary ability in the field of education. a lower court's ruling to acquit Gülen on charges that he organized an illegal terrorist organization to overthrow the secular government in Turkey. ideological fellow-travelers. On July 16.. The court found that the immigration examiner improperly concluded that the field of education was the only statutory category in which Gülen's accomplishments could fit and that Gülen's accomplishments in such fields as theology. support. who. John Esposito.S. also supplied a reference. Gülen won another legal battle. The letters may have worked. with regard to the statutory requirement that the applicant show that his or her entry into the United States would substantially benefit the United States. district judge Stewart Dalzell issued a memorandum and order granting Gülen's motion for partial summary judgment and ordering the U. 2008. 2008. U. Finally.S.

secular Kemalists"—the fact remains that the majority of Turks. "Who lost Turkey?" Rachel Sharon-Krespin is the director of the Turkish Media Project at the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). [3] Helen Rose Ebaugh and Dogan Koc. but rather to find an answer to the question. 3. June 22. 27. 2007. Turkiye Nasil Kusatildi? (Istanbul: yah Beyaz Yayın. July 3. whereas in recent years there have been many incidents of attacks on less-observant Turks for drinking alcohol or not fasting. 2007." The University of Texas. including Gül and Erdoğan. ambassador.C. 1995 interview with The Guardian. What Turkey's Islamists really want is to remove the founding principles of the Turkish Republic. Vatan (Istanbul). secular Turks as "fundamentalists" has to be one of the most offensive but sadly effective lies in modern politics."[57] While the Turkish constitution recognizes all Turkish citizens as "Turks.. Oct. San Antonio. [2] Milliyet. [1] Can Dündar. 2008. 2007. many of the same outlets and officials have hailed the Ergenekon indictment. have repeatedly expressed their opposition to the "imprisonment of Islam in the mosque. Hürriyet (Istanbul). 10. . 2006). So long as U. Erasmus University. albeit not of religious tolerance. Indeed." Gül has slammed "secularism" on many occasions. and secularism and fascism on the other. assuming a dichotomy between Islamism and democracy on one hand. Nov. and Western officials fail to recognize that Gülen's rhetoric of tolerance is only skin-deep. J. the pro-Islamist media in Turkey along with Western diplomats and journalists dismissed the case as an "undemocratic judicial coup. Milliyet (Istanbul). 2007. June 21. [5] "Fethullah Gülen Is an Islamic Scholar and Peace Activist. to govern every aspect of life in the country. June 26. including during a November 27. [4] Merdan Yanardağ.S.[54] The repeated branding in Islamist outlets of Turkey's Islamists as "reformist democrats" and of modern. are traditional and observant Muslims many of whom define themselves primarily as "Muslims first." International Conference on Fethullah Gülen. Reha Muhtar.com. Nov. 2006.[58] AKP leaders. Mar. J. Therefore. Mar. 10.[55] While women who cover their heads in the Islamic manner can move freely in any area of the country.[56] Contrary to the impression prevalent in the West—that the conflict is between religious Muslims and "anti-religion. Rogers. Most Turks vividly remember statements by AKP leaders not long ago rejecting the definition of secularism as "separation of mosque and state. based on interviews with Nurettin Veren on Kanaltürk television. Rotterdam. The Netherlands." fgulen. Turkey has never seen a single incident of attacks on pious Muslims for fasting during Ramadan. one must be Muslim.attempting to undermine the secular constitution."[53] Yet at the same time. they may be setting the stage for a dialogue. "Funding Gülen-Inspired Good Works: Demonstrating and Generating Commitment to the Movement. 2007. Washington D." the dominant sentiment in the country has always been that in order to be considered a Turk. it appears Gülen is not fighting for more individual freedoms but to free Islam from the confines of the mosque and the private domain of individuals and to bring it to the public arena. 2008. Tex. or military or police officer attests to the prevalence of Islam's dominance in the Turkish establishment. uncovered women are increasingly unwelcome in certain regions and are often attacked. The complete absence of any non-Muslim governor. Fethullah Gülen Hareketinin Perde Arkasi." demanding that it be present everywhere as a lifestyle. "Giants of Light: Fethullah Gülen and Meister Eckhart in Dialogue. secular included.

Oct. 2008. [25] See. 2008. 2. June 2. May 1. 1998. May 1. May 2. 2008. [30] Vakit (Istanbul). 2008. "Professor from Van University in Turkey Commits Suicide after Five Months in Jail without ." Middle East Quarterly. Turkiye Nasil Kusatildi? [22] Adil Serdar Saçan. 23-9. July 3. Fethullah Gülen Hareketinin Perde Arkasi. 23. Nov. Apr. 27. Milliyet. [8] Anadolu Ajansı (Ankara). Feb. USA Today. Labornet Turkey. 2006. 2007. 2008. Hürriyet. 2005. 2. "Giants of Light". May 14. Sept. 10. May 1. Gerçek Gündem." MEMRI Special Dispatch No. Turkiye Nasil Kusatildi? [38] "Turkish Judiciary at War with AKP Government to Defend Its Independence. 2008. 28. "Turkish Islam's Moderate Face. 2008. [13] Sabah (Istanbul). June 2. [15] Cumhuriyet (Istanbul). June 14. 2008. 2007. [19] Erik-Jan Zürcher. [18] Hürriyet. [7] Bülent Aras. 1014. 2006. pp. [14] Veren interview. Milliyet. [9] Booklets on Anatolian Sufism with citations from Mevlana Celleddin Rumi distributed at the "Muslim World in Transition: Contributions of the Gulen Movement" conference. 2006. May 2. June 2. 2006.org. 27." KurdishMedia. [21] Yanardağ. Kanaltürk." Oct. Kanaltürk television. 2008. 2008 [34] Vatan. 27. July 16. June 26. London. 2001. 2008. Hürriyet. May 1. Rogers. "Erdogan. "Kamermeerderheid Eist Onderzoek Naar Turkse Beweging. 2004. Dec. Hürriyet. [24] Samanyolu television. "Investigation of Turkey's ‘Deep State' Ergenekon Plot Spreads to Military. [17] Interview with Merdan Yanardağ. 2008. 2006. 2008. Dec. Dec. 31. 1998." NOVA documentary." MEMRI Special Dispatch No. interview. "Central Asia: Fethullah Gulen's Missionary Schools. 2008. Fethullah Gülen Hareketinin Perde Arkasi. [27] Vatan. May 1. Ergenekon." Global Terrorism Analysis. idem. Feb. and the Struggle for Turkey. 2007. 2008. July 18. 11. [32] BBC News. Frank Hyland. Jamestown Foundation. [10] Aland Mizell. 2008. Nov. [29] "Sok Video! Cumhuriyet Savcisi Salim Demirci.com. 28. "Clash of Civilizations versus Interfaith Dialogue: The Theories of Huntington and Gulen. [37] Yanardağ." Mideast Monitor. [16] Bayram Balcı. Mar. July 11. "Are Islam and Kemalism Compatible? How Two Systems Have Impacted the Kurdish Question?" Iraq Updates. 25 – 27. 20. for example. Hürriyet." accessed Oct. 2008. Oct.[6] See for example. 30. 13. 2. Nov. June 26. [39] "The AKP Government's Attempt to Move Turkey from Secularism to Islamism (Part I): The Clash with Turkey's Universities. 2008. Michael Rubin. [23] Ibid. [31] Vatan. 2008. [12] Ibid. [11] Interview with Nurettin Veren. July 9. Gerçek Gündem (Istanbul). [28] "SOK! Tuggeneral Munir Erten den SOK aciklamalar!" accessed Oct. Kanaltürk. Vatan. 2008. Feb. June 2. [33] Reuters. 4. [20] Cumhuriyet. Netherlands Information Services. 2007. 2008. 1520. 2008. 2008. July 4. 1. Nov. [35] Hürriyet. 20. May 2. [36] Milliyet. 8. 2008. Sendika. 2008. Aug. [26] Yanardağ interview. 2007. 2008.

Milliyet. Apr. Cumhuriyet. [41] Odatv. 2007. July 15. 2008." Turkish Daily News. [43] Hürriyet. Mar. Cumhuriyet.S. U. U. Turkish Daily News. 23. 10. 2008. 14. Oct. 375. of Homeland Security. May 24. 2008. Akşam (Istanbul). 7. 2008. please see details about an affordable subscription. 2008 [47] Turkish channel ATV. 16. [54] Mustafa Akyol. 2005. 2007. [51] "Fethullah Gulen v. 18. "The Threat Is Secular Fundamentalism. May 15. 2007. 8. July 19. May 23. June 16. [40] Zaman (Istanbul). 1025. 9. June 7. 2008. "The Upcoming Elections in Turkey (2): The AKP's Political Power Base.'" MEMRI Special Dispatch No. [52] Ibid. Logoglu Is Wrong. Aug. 2005. Sept. Hürriyet. [44] Hürriyet. [53] Turkish Daily News (Ankara). 2008.com. 2008. . "Islam Will Modernize—If Secular Fundamentalists Allow. 12." International Herald Tribune.Trial. May 14. Related Topics: Radical Islam. [55] Vatan. 2008. 2008. 2008. 2008. 1999. Feb. [49] Ibid. ‘One Cannot Be a Muslim and Secular. Michael Chertoff. Sept. 2008. 9. June 9. 2007. 3. 14. 2008." Turkish Daily News. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. "Mr. [42] Radikal (Istanbul). Vatan. 2007. 21. Feb. Nov. [48] Ibid." MEMRI Special Dispatch No. June 13. 11. [56] Hürriyet. [50] Sabah. May 30. Considerably Wrong about Turkey.. [57] Yeni Şafak. Secretary. 14." Case 2:07-cv-02148-SD. 2008. Feb. 1596. Turkey and Turks | Winter 2009 MEQ receive the latest by email: subscribe to the free mef mailing listTo receive the full. 2008. et al. 7. 2008. July 14. 2006. 18. Describing It as ‘A Huge Lie': ‘Sovereignty Belongs Unconditionally and Always To Allah'. [46] Milliyet. Dept. printed version of the Middle East Quarterly. Feb. May 4.S. Yeni Şafak (Istanbul). Apr. 21. Vakit. [58] "Turkish PM Erdogan in Speech during Term as Istanbul Mayor Attacks Turkey's Constitution. June 18. [45] Hürriyet." MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. Jan. 2. 2008. 14. July 7. 2008.