Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Fethullah Gülen: public intellectual or just another charter school crook?

Fethullah Gülen: public intellectual or public enemy?:

Fethullah Gülen: public intellectual or public enemy?

On July 15, 2016, the Turkish Republic survived an attempted military coup d’état that killed nearly 300 people and cost more than an estimated US$100 billion.
Immediately following the coup, Turkey’s government began a massive purge of state, military, business and civil society institutions in an attempt to remove alleged plotters from the ranks of social power. To date, approximately 75,000 people have been detained or forced to resign.
Human rights groups allege that arbitrary arrest and torture are becoming routine. Turkey’s leaders strongly refute such claims. They argue that security forces are doing what is necessary to protect the nation from a clearly defined enemy. The implications of the failed coup are deeply concerning for Turkey, the region and the world.
Gulen is burned in effigy during a pro-government demonstration in Istanbul, July 18, 2016. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
What unites the purged are alleged connections to Turkey’s most famous religious personality, Fethullah Gülen.
Presented by his followers as a learned scholar and orator, Gülen leads a transnational social and economic network that participants call Hizmet, from the Turkish word for “service,” and outsiders call the Gülen movement. The Turkish government insists Fethullah Gülen orchestrated the coup, and are demanding both domestic and international cooperation to bring him and his alleged co-conspirators to justice.
What do we know about this man and his movement?

The Gülen movement

Anchored in private education, the GM began in the late 1960s. That’s when Gülen established a following of mostly young men attracted to his emotional call for religious Turks to participate in secular education and the market economy.
Gülen discouraged participation in Turkey’s primary Islamic political movement. Instead, he encouraged a patient and calculated accumulation of economic and institutional influence. As a form of “market Islam,” members of the GM moved beyond education to succeed in news and entertainment media, information technologies, manufacturing, finance and other sectors. By the early 2000s, the GM operated schools and businesses in well over 100 countries.
I first met associates of the Gülen movement in 2005 in the United States. At the time, I was aware that Gülen lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, and I knew of several interfaith institutions that designated Gülen as their honorary president. I chose to do my dissertation research on the GM. I was intrigued by his brand of Islamic activist thinking, and by his followers' focus on participation over confrontation, and on market competition Fethullah Gülen: public intellectual or public enemy?:

Big Education Ape: US to discuss Gulen extradition in Turkey next week | TRT World -



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