Many people believe that Fethullah Gülen, an influential Muslim scholar based in Pennsylvania and leader of the transnational Gülen movement, is working for the CIA's interests in Turkey and Central Asia.
There are rumours that Gülen wants Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan out of power. To learn more about him and his influence over Turkey, read the articles below.
Here is an excerpt from the article, "Islamic group is CIA front, ex-Turkish intel chief says," by Jeff Stein (Washington Post, January 2011):
A memoir by a top former Turkish intelligence official claims that a worldwide moderate Islamic movement based in Pennsylvania has been providing cover for the CIA since the mid-1990s.Here is an excerpt from an article published at Al Monitor on May 19 called, "The Looming Power Struggle Between Erdogan and Gulenists," by Amberin Zaman:
The memoir, roughly rendered in English as “Witness to Revolution and Near Anarchy,” by retired Turkish intelligence official Osman Nuri Gundes, says the religious-tolerance movement, led by an influential former Turkish imam by the name of Fethullah Gulen, has 600 schools and 4 million followers around the world.
In the 1990s, Gundes alleges, the movement "sheltered 130 CIA agents" at its schools in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan alone, according to a report on his memoir Wednesday by the Paris-based Intelligence Online newsletter.
The book has caused a sensation in Turkey since it was published last month.
Tensions between Erdogan (a fellow imam) and Gulen have been simmering for some time. Yet, as the rift deepens so, too, has speculation about a protracted power struggle in the run-up to nationwide municipal elections that are meant to be held in March 2014. The elections are viewed as a litmus test of Erdogan’s unassailable popularity and their outcome will shine a light on his chances of becoming Turkey’s first popularly elected president when Abdullah Gul steps down in August 2014. Gulen, who commands a global empire of media outlets, charities, businesses and schools, can sway his followers either way.Here is an excerpt from, "Who is Fethullah Gulen, Turkey's Powerful Cleric in Self-Exile?" by Gianluca Mezzofiore (June 6):
After a week of anti-government protests swept Turkey's biggest cities, the country's most powerful Muslim cleric, who is in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, has finally spoken out.Below: CNN video about the influence of Fethullah Gülen over Turkish politics and the arrest of independent reporters in Turkey who are critical of him and the government. (Date of broadcast unknown. My guess is 2011.).
Fethullah Gulen, a charismatic imam who proposes a moderate interpretation of Islam, has criticised Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the way he has handled the protests.
"If you claim that protesters are not seeking their rights, then you would ignore the innocent demands of some," he said in reference to Erdogan labelling demonstrators as "looters" or "small fringe groups".
"We need to act smart and see the smallest problems as very big and we need to handle them in a smart way. If innocent people are killed, if some are choked with gas bombs and if some are blind enough not to see, the fire could rage," he continued.
"Underestimating negative developments reveal a problem in judgment, mind and logic."
His words reveal a rift between his Gulen movement and the populist, increasingly authoritarian prime minister.
When the moderate Islamist AKP took power in 2002, the Gulen movement provided indispensable support for Erdogan with its extensive influence in the media, police and judicial system.
Self-exiled since 1999 - when he flew to the United States officially for "medical controls" but was actually fleeing charges of plotting to overthrow the government in Turkey - Gülen, 70, has built an impressive network of more than 1,000 schools in 140 countries, from South Africa to the United States.