Turkey’s Secretive Gulen Movement Challenges its Prime Minister as Religious Right Splits

(By Alexander Christie-Miller)

The man some see as the architect of a political storm threatening to topple Turkey’s government lives 5,000 miles away in rural Pennsylvania. Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim preacher born in 1941 near the eastern Turkish city of Erzurum, heads one of the…
The Gulen movement: a self-exiled imam challenges Turkey’s Erdogan (via The Christian Science Monitor)

The man some see as the architect of a political storm threatening to topple Turkey’s government lives 5,000 miles away in rural Pennsylvania. Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim preacher born in 1941 near the eastern Turkish city of Erzurum, heads one of the…

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13 Responses

  1. It seems that Erdogan’s trying to replace one deep state with another if he hasn’t done so already.
    But given the track record of the Kemalists, Erdogan comes across as a sympathetic figure (even though he stands for iron-fisted authoritarian governance).

    • Really? What is the track record of Kemalists?

      I don’t remember them gassing me on the streets when I tried to save a park is all I’m saying.

      • Oh, don’t troll my site with bs like that. There were massive crackdowns by Kamalists as with after the 1980 coup. The whole left was destroyed including most effective labor unions. Leaving us with effete bourgeois apologists for an intolerant militant secularism.

        • Oh sorry! I didn’t mean to defend them in that way. Many of my dad’s friends lost hearing in their ears due to beatings and another disappeared.

          I was born in 1981 and I never experienced anything like I did during the Gezi protests. So I am a a little annoyed when someone says Erdogan is better… It depends on who is at the end of the stick…

      • “What is the track record of the Kemalists?”

        (1) Military coups of several democratically elected governments.

        (2). Conservative Muslims were forced to secularize.

        (3) Religion was controlled by (not separated from) the state.

        (4). Mosques were used to spread the Kemalist ideology and Ataturk confiscated Sufi lodges, monasteries and outlawed their rituals.

        (5). Conservative Muslims were denied a basic rights of access to education and employment.

        (6). A soldier would be discharged from the military if her mother wore a headscarf or if he was caught praying and or fasting.

        (7). Kurdish language was suppressed (Kurds couldn’t read, write and speak Kurdish in public).

        (8). Murder of political dissidents.

        (9). Women were barred from wearing headscarves in university and government buildings and Ataturk banned the fez.

        ” don’t remember them gassing me on the streets when I tried to save a park is all I’m saying.”

        Perhaps you should read a bit about how Ataturk suppressed the Seyh Sait rebellion.

        • At what point does reading the present CHP of KK become like pointing out that racist southerners were Democrats as if it discredited the contemporary party?

        • 1) Yes. Although the 1980 coup was directly supported by the US.
          2)Secularize meaning what? You mean they got an education? What does it mean to be forced to secularize? They were banned from praying? They couldn’t go to Mecca? This is just silly.
          3) Yes. Are you American? Have you heard of state churches? Because they have one anywhere from Russia to England.
          4) What is Kemalist ideology exactly? Not very analytical if you’re just gonna throw concepts out there.
          5) Basic access? It was the state that forced families to send girls to school. Headscarf ban? Yes.
          6) Not quite. At least not at all periods. But the army was drastic about secularism.
          7) In the 1980s. Not before. So you think you can blame all Kemalists (which I am not) for the military coup then?
          8) Examples???
          9) Yes… It’s not like the Fez was the national attire in Turkey. Read your history it came to Turkey in the 19th century.

          Seyh Sait rebellion was a separatist incident. Check out the role the English played. Oh and do you really want to judge the events of pre WWII by today’s standards? Because if you do maybe we should take a look at… Britain, France, Russia, United States against… well Indians, Maghreb, Muslim minorities and native Americans respectively.

          State is a organization of violence. However, I agree the treatment of Kurds under the Turkish Republic is a long one of oppression.

  2. So far, the split is less than impressive. Whatever its power within the police and in the courts, it has been unable to sustain the investigation in the face of Tayyip’s personality-cult onslaught. (Today’s claim: The investigation is an assassination attempt!) And though FG’s boy Hakan Sukur insists to TZ that many deputies are on the same page as him, there have been few defections. The rest, from Gul on down, have by their silence enabled the cover-up, which now includes lifting the freeze on assets of the accused, which will of course be transferred out of the country post haste. I’ve no love for Gulen’s operation, but it begins to seem like they’ve simply ensured that Tayyip remains the state, as PM if nothing else, for years to come.

  3. Well, everyone including you Dr. Cole was excited about AKP in the beginning.

    We, seculars, always said people who shouted damnation to West and liberal values every day since they woke up cannot change overnight.

    But he was a useful tool for Western capital.

    And we should gently remind ourselves CIA officers were present at the Green Card application of Fethullah Gulen. One wonders why…

    • Yes, but you see, the western academic must undo the sins of colonialism, which created generals and Kemalists, by defending the masses and their beliefs (even if, at home, the same sort of folks give us the willies and have us screaming about the denial of rights and the dismantling of the education system) and insisting that, no, Erdogan wasn’t just riding A Streetcar Named Democracy to the Autocratic Rule station, and that his secular opponents, however right they may seem to be, are still just a bunch of elitist White Turkish western wanna-bes.

      After all, as Mustafa Akyol never tires of reminding us, any sins of the AKP are behaviors learned from the Kemalists. But it starts with them. The Ottoman Empire was a libertarian land of milk and honey.

      Nuray Mert had a nice column on this phenomenon in Hurriyet Daily News a few days ago.

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