Fethullah Gulen: A cultish menace?
The Gulen Movement is a danger spreading from Turkey to the world
Radical Islamic groups have tried various ways to assert their authority over people, and that generally involved the use of force until today. These groups view the modern world as a threat to Islam; in order to remove this threat, they usually apply terrorism, considering innocent people as nothing more than collateral damage. But the policies of these organizations, which are based on terrorism, averted them from having a voice and led Islam to look antipathetic to the world.
In Turkey, cults developed further in their effectiveness beginning in the 1970s, and have made a significant breakthrough which has led to radical Islam taking over Turkey, and although it seems farfetched, these cult methods could eventually spread radical Islam through the world. First of all, a main difference between the Gulen Movement and other radical Islamic organizations is the importance they give to education and technology. By using the latter, this cult ensures that those members who join them end up pledging their allegiance while they are at young ages, paving the way for them to get a proper education and prepare them so they can get any position at government agencies. With this method, they avoid a direct conflict and argument between the state and themselves, and simultaneously place cult members into the various government agencies, also known as Trojan horses, and have them act completely in the interest of the cult in order to help “capture” the agencies they are working inside of. When we look at Fethullah Gulen’s (the leader of the Gulen movement) speech, on June 18, 1999, his advice to his followers included suggestions to not act until gaining all the power of every constitutional organization in Turkey; that shows there is a methodical plan going on.
Gulen movement has become the owner of nearly a thousand schools in the world and the controller of a serious amount of capital. According to Jane’s Defense Weekly, a publication from the leading U.S. security and intelligence organization, the Gulen movement controls $25bn in various companies and assets. They are organized in poor African countries especially, and they succeed by obtaining a grip on the resources of those countries. The movement does not balk at any expense in order to give its followers the best education they can; it sends them to developed foreign countries like the United Kingdom or the United States to get the best education available and to learn English. After their education, the cult brings those followers back to Turkey and gives them important tasks.
Cult influence over the Justice and Development Party (AKP):
One of the main reasons the AKP has become the first party in the elections two times in a row is the coalescence of all the cults in Turkey giving their votes to the same party.
In its first term, the AKP government did not show its real (Gulen) face and they succeeded in deceiving the Turkish public that the government is modern and democratic; yet, after gaining all the power of the constitutional organizations, the AKP began to show its true self, and it has begun to act parallel with cult movements.
First, the AKP began a cleaning process with the media, starting with Cem Uzan, then they confiscated all the companies from big media bosses. This process ended by driving the Dogan Media Company to the edge by punishing them with a $5.9bn tax fine. All of those confiscated companies have now been sold to the business men who are connected to the Gulen Movement.
Following those incidents, many scholars, men of science, and military personnel have been thrown in jail due to the laws and regulations that are passed from the National Assembly in the middle of the night, and they are forced to deal with thousands of pages of cases; the only common thing among those people arrested is that all of them are opposed to the AKP and cults.
These processes have been applied by those cult members who have gained positions in the legal system. As a result of owning all the big media companies in the country, they propagandize their thoughts and all the incidents that take place in the country are being announced to the world as “democratization movements”. They use every opportunity to underline that the AKP gives great importance to the EU accession process and reforms.
Cult influence on the AKP government showcases its results in Turkey’s changing foreign policy. Turkey began a campaign of attacks on Israel in every area; even at the ministerial level. The ousting of the Israeli National Basketball Team from the Efes World Cup, the recanted invitation of Israel to participate in a joint military practice and the famous “one minute” incident at Davos are just a couple of examples. The Gulen cult has also begun a boycott campaign against Israeli products and they strongly oppose those products in areas that they are powerful in. Israel is accused of killing innocent people by Gulen scholars and it is being held responsible for every trouble occurring in Turkey through the movements personal TV series; for example, they show the Israelis as the cause for the failure of the Kurdish opening.
The US connection
Everyone knows the strong alliance between Israel and the United States, but despite this alliance, some people might be surprised by the support given to the Gulen movement by the United States. After being sued and accused of trying to build a crime organization to destroy the states secular structure in Turkey with his movement, Fethullah Gulen moved to the United States, and when he applied for the green card, some CIA officers, including Graham Fuller, gave him reference letters for his application. These events show just how much support the United States gives to the Gulen movement.
The reason for this support is the U.S. efforts to defuse the Middle East and Caucasus via Gulen’s moderate Islamic policy and to then exert control of these regions. This policy leans on the idea that cult movements are less harmful than terrorist organizations, and if you use them in the right way, they can even be useful. When we look at Turkey’s example, while terrorist organizations would not be able to succeed in taking charge of a country, the Gulen Movement could succeed in doing so and in a short time period as well, and then they can continue their dissemination.
In addition, Iran’s rejection of Gulen schools, and the closing of 16 Gulen schools in Russia and the final closure of 4 faculties in Iraq on December 30, 2009, shows that this movement does not have lots of power in countries outside of Turkey and Africa. Following these facts, the United States should stop giving support to this movement and start the elimination process of this organization. The Gulen Movement tries to build the same structure in the United States by opening several schools and it could soon begin to exert more influence there as well. Investigations in Utah on the movements dealings could be interpreted that the United States is finally beginning to see them as a threat too.
Radical Islam could have succeeded in gaining control of the world before, but this time, its method is quite different and much more dangerous, of course. While the complete capture of Turkey is standing in front of us, it is impossible to approach the problem in an optimistic way. The Gulen Movement is trying what other Islamic organizations have failed to do, it wins the hearts and minds of people through good deeds and education, and that is proving to be just as dangerous as a ticking time bomb.
So, in order to extinguish a fire, first you must prevent it from spreading to other areas. If we want to put out the flames of this fire, then the U.S. must conduct detailed investigations into their schools and recognize them as “a crime organization without guns” and freeze their assets. It would lead to the Gulen cult losing their financial power and an eventual collapse of the organization itself; without money they will not be able to continue spreading. Once that has been accomplished Turkey can begin to eliminate them, since at this time, Turkey does not possess that power.
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