Gülen Networks Laid Bare

In case you missed it, a well-researched New York Times article about Gülen schools in Texas that shows all the behind-the-scenes connections between the different supposedly independent foundations and businesses and the Gülen movement. Click here.

57 Responses to “Gülen Networks Laid Bare”

  1. They have schools in every state and they just found out?

    Here is another informative article.

  2. Jenny, as you know, opinions on (1) Gulen movement and (2) their activities in the US are varied. I hate to put you on the spot, but would you care to share your thoughts about (2) in particular?

  3. I tend to agree with the New York Times article — the links are suspicious in terms of money and business monopolies (which may or may not be illegal), but there’s no sign of proselytizing (they push Turkey, not Islam).

  4. Okay, thanks Jenny. Imo, Islam is wrapped inside Gulenists’ Turkey, or vice versa, but this isn’t necessarily a damning observation. As far as I understand, in Turkey, proselytizing is occurring essentially outside the classroom, in the dorms, in those rumored abi-run houses. I doubt if their US schools afford such extracurricular settings.

  5. Maybe I was wrong, and there is some extracurricular affordance to push Islam, or conservative sexist mores if you don’t want to label it with one big Abrahamic label. A certain Mary from Texas says (click):
    .
    [...]
    On many occasions I, as a female student, have been subjected to sexism. For example, male students are taken out of town to tour colleges while female students are left behind with the excuse of no available female chaperon. They also do not let boys and girls sit beside each other on field trips, or have dances. Favoritism is openly shown towards the male students. An instance of male favoritism that I have experienced is when a fellow female student and I were selected to go to a regional science fair; the boys who attended were allowed to play soccer while my friend and I were told to sit in the car and wait.
    [...]

  6. I just don’t see how the students are getting hurt or how the set of problems outlined are any different than any other concerning H-1b abuse or other cases of an organization making sure gov’t money flows their way through various schemes. They do seem to be delivering what they promise in terms of education just like software sweatshops with H-1b staff deliver. Just like in the software case, many of the complaints come from the local competition and not the customers.
    .
    What makes the info that surfaces in the US valuable for me/us is that the attitudes and schemes that the Turkish press doesn’t (or cannot) cover are exposed in some detail: ridiculous denials of things they don’t even need to deny, retention of useful politicians (and talented pundits here), a dedicated and obedient workforce, extreme litigiousness against speech they dislike, a willingness to deal with those who are powerful and ruthless bullying of the weak who get in their way etc. It is disgrace for the Turkish society and institutions that, for example, the ‘tuzuk’ copy only surfaced on the web after the cemaat annoyed some Americans and or piqued their interest by their activities in the US, but at this point we’ll make do with whatever info we may get.
    .
    For the schools, we hear much the same things: an obsession with test scores and competitions, special care shown to select bright students perhaps at the expense of the average or problem kids, never forcing legal limits wrt. secularism etc. Nihat’s link about sexism reflects a rather common rumor too — if it were legally possible they’d probably gender-segregate their schools. We’ll see how long that attitude will last in the US if they are allowed to keep operating and their Turkish staff ends up getting permanent residency (i.e. the H-1b indenture is removed, they end up mingling with the locals for a longish time and perhaps working elsewhere).
    .
    Is the Simpsons still on in the US? Perhaps alongside the stereotypical Indian 7-11 owner they’ll have Turks teaching high school math or cramming techniques for state exams? With headscarves over Marge Simpson hairdos, perhaps?

  7. I LOVE the Simpsons idea!!!

  8. In the NYT comments section, there was one claiming that these schools owed their apparent success as measured by standardized tests to not keeping underperforming kids on the rolls. Presenting them as shining examples of success in comparison to public schools that cannot get rid of kids due to poor performance was thus unfair. That was the commenter’s point, that is. On the other hand, there seems to be a lot of anecdotal parental reports of exceptional satisfaction, compared to few who complain that it didn’t work for them, that they received the cold shoulder when trying to address their concerns with the school administrators or teachers. It’s hard to gauge the relative sizes of these happy and unhappy populations based on such reportage though.

  9. ridiculous denials of things they don’t even need to deny
    .
    Bulent, if by this you mean the denial of ties of these schools to the Gulen movement which is commonly accepted as a religious movement/organization, you probably are wrong about the ridiculousness of the denials. I understand that there are some examples of Catholic private schools going charter to tap into public money, thus putting themselves under previously non-existent constitutional scrutiny to strictly keep religion out of school. So, by those denials –to the extent they are bought by overseers and patrons– they are dodging the hardship of constantly and openly measuring up to secular norms.
    .
    That said, there was another commenter who made me laugh about the no-religion-in-public-schools rule assumption. She said they were a Jewish family; and at the public school, her little kids would be regularly treated to fun egg hunts and bunny-themed activities during Easter, while their teachers would explain to them that, during Passover, sheep were killed and their blood was smeared on doors (or something like that). So much for no religion at school, she was saying.

  10. On the other hand, there seems to be a lot of anecdotal parental reports of exceptional satisfaction, compared to few who complain that it didn’t work for them, that they received the cold shoulder when trying to address their concerns with the school administrators or teachers.

     
    Personally, I don’t think much can come out of this. Unless the political establishment is hell bent to get rid of them, those schools are there to stay simply because they are doing their jobs better than available alternatives.
     
    [I am saying this on the assumption that if there were other alternatives these schools wouldn't have been there in the first place --after all, we're not talking about them sneaking in by some immoral ways; or are we?]
     
    As a good example why they are there to stay –assuming they are doing their jobs properly– I can point at the ‘Ermeni Hastanesi’ (Kazlicesme, Zeytinburnu, Istanbul) [here] which has been around for almost 180 years. And, even during the times being an Armenian wasn’t the most popular thing in TR, I don’t recall anyone attacking them. On the contrary, I do know quite a few people –some devout Muslims– going there and using their services without any reservations at all.
     
    But, then again, I do sense a different air: the US Establishment is a little more determined than doing a mere investigation it seems.
     
    I am saying this based on the figures (50-100 million USD) flying around. IMO these are peanuts even if they were all in the darker shades of gray area (just compare how much public money has vanished in Lehman Brothers affair), but it does indicate that the Establishment is playing the disgruntled wolf at the source of the stream looking angrily at the lamb.
     
    What I really wonder is: Why? Why now?

  11. CA, the US establishment is not a single-minded mono-body. They are currently being put under the microscope for potentially irregular, illegal (immoral if you like) aspects of their enterprise by some segments of that establishment. Some other segments are indeed defending them.
    .
    You cannot evaluate those figures of several tens of million dollars in the light of billions, trillions that vanished in the financial juggernaut. You have to look at education dollars available to local districts, and when you do that, 50–100 million dollars is huge money.
    .
    Another thing to remember is, all this Gulen schools thing is, or is becoming, fodder in the bigger fight about the American education system. Charter schools have their opponents irrespective of who runs them or what they stand for.

  12. Nihat, I understand but disagree. I don’t think they’d have any trouble dealing with additional scrutiny about remaining secular. We may be talking about poorer people but we are still talking about — possibly church-going — Christians who’re sending their kids there. How will they push Islam to such kids? Can you imagine telling these kids that the Bible they have (and perhaps study in Sunday school) contains a corrupted version of God’s word and that they are effectively polytheists due to the concept of trinity? (This is roughly what kids used to get told about Christianity here. Perhaps the story has changed now?) Concerned parents would be over there in time at all. The most that can be attempted is pushing some mild form of creationism and even that would raise suspicion.
    .
    About those standardized scores, in some comments under news pieces I have seen accusations of improper state exam administration. The web site of their great friends has some stuff too: http://gulencharterschools.weebly.com/standardized-tests-ctd.html
    There’s a presentation there that claims SAT scores (ie stricter or perhaps different test administration) shows discrepancies with state exams. This may well be a problem with charter school chains in general.

  13. Bulent, I understand but don’t know.

  14. Even if one does not subscribe to the extreme views of Sibel Edmunds that the Gulen organization is backed by CIA, Turkish government, and Saudi Arabia, for the Islamization of central Asia and to control energy resources in the post Soviet world, one has to be amazingly naïve (kindest word) to think these groups don’t work for their ultimate Imam and that Fethullah came to US for the good of underprivileged American school children who need improved education.

    These guys can deny their involvement or relationship with Gulen organization as much as they want. Even going back to 2003, according to wikileaks documents from US consulate in Turkey, US consulate members had already started to create a profile of a typical Gulen follower travelling to US, with the common characteristics being evasive about their purpose of travel, deny knowing Gulen, and not forthcoming about the source of travel funds.

    Documents state that these were predominantly young, male college graduates applying for J-1 visas to teach in science academies in the US, most with some prior education or teaching experience in Central Asian republics. Most who were refused visas returned in a year with H1-B petitions sponsored by Gulen-affiliated science academies, interestingly filed even before the J-1 visa interviews. Consulate documents in fact go on to further categorize different profiles and in depth analyses of Gulenists, such as married middle-aged male with no English and traveling alone, graduate student going for English, etc.

    BTW, these wikileaks documents already state that Atlas, the construction and food services firm, amongst many others, is affiliated with the Gulen organization.

  15. Snapping Turtle: It is trivially established that the CIA enabled Fethullah Gulen to immigrate to the US. Furthermore, we know that Gulenists are active in Central Asia, and that the US has a long-standing policy of using Islam in that region against Russia, and that the US is “interested” in the region’s energy resources.

    In light of this I think one does not need to take too wide a leap to believe in Sibel’s claims. I think the purpose of the American chapter is to set up a lobby group, like AIPAC. The support of the American Establishment is much more valuable than any amount of money they can milk out of the school system, or their grocery stores. They want to be the face of Turkey, if not Islam, in the eyes of Americans.

  16. Even if one does not subscribe to the extreme views of Sibel Edmunds that the Gulen organization is backed by CIA, Turkish government, and Saudi Arabia, for the Islamization of central Asia and to control energy resources in the post Soviet world, one has to be amazingly naïve (kindest word) to think these groups don’t work for their ultimate Imam and that Fethullah came to US for the good of underprivileged American school children who need improved education.

    OK. I am with you so far –especially the part that Gulen isn’t an independent player.
     
    What I can’t quite figure out is why the love story appears to have turned (or, is on the verge of being turned) sour.
     
    As you correctly point out, referring Wikileaks documents, it’s not as if the Gulenists have suddenly appeared in the US; their presence goes back at least 8 years.
     
    Could it be because those 3 players (CIA, TR, SA) decided they don’t need the Gulenists anymore; are they showing them the stick to work harder?
     
    Any views/opinions/insights?

  17. This is funny (I haven’t verified the info except checking a couple of domain names): The hoca, the internet and the girls nextdoor.

  18. CA,

    I am not sure the relationship between the listed actors went necessarily sour. I still think it is too early to reach such a conclusion particularly because the US does not necessarily know or control what has been going on in the Middle East, including Turkey. There is no need to alienate a powerful channel of influence on Turkey residing in the US. I can think of few people who can as effectively mobilize millions of people at various educational levels in Turkey as Gulen when and if necessary. I think Gulen is still too important of an asset for the US in terms of influencing the Turkish politics and policies. Just imagine the controversy the US can create just by expelling him. Where would Gulen cry next?

    I personally think that this small scale dispute will remain at the state level, and will be resolved by cancelling some H1B visas, imposing fines and fees, a large Kleenex bill and etc. A little bit of tapping in the hand would suffice. After all, the whole ordeal seems only like an abuse of immigration and perhaps labor laws.

  19. I see some people agree on the existence of a Gulen-CIA relationship. Is it an evil relationship? I especially wonder what Jenny thinks about that? Do we hate Gulen, or do we hate US that used Gulen or do we hate both?

  20. I never understood why the US granted permanent residency to Gulen. Does he have some kind of a set of rare skills that no American has? Has he been taking Java classes online at night? Or is it the fact that the title “hoca” was lost in transition? I wonder what happens if one of our prominent professors apply for permanent residency in the US. What is the likelihood of his success? Why should the US care about an “educator” with substantial influence in Central Asia unless some politics is involved?

    I personally know quite a few highly qualified professors and IT specialists on H1B visas who have been struggling with their permanent residencies in the US. I wonder what skills they are missing compared to Gulen Hoca? Wait, it must be the tears. Yeah, no one can resist that…

  21. Cingoz,
    .
    I never understood why the US granted permanent residency to Gulen. Does he have some kind of a set of rare skills that no American has?
    .
    AFAIR, initially, they didn’t want to. Then Gulen’s people sued the INS (or whatever it is called now) to get it. Those who testified on his behalf are the ones you should be suspicious of. The docket should be available somewhere on the ‘net. Wikileaks documents also have some talk about who they asked for testimonials from here and what kind of discomfort it caused.
    .
    I personally know quite a few highly qualified professors and IT specialists on H1B visas who have been struggling with their permanent residencies in the US.
    .
    If they have the money to get the right kind of legal advice/representation it shouldn’t be a problem. (Best honest advice from an immigration lawyer I have ever heard is “if you have that kind of money, you don’t have an immigration problem you have a tax problem.” It wasn’t given to me, unfortunately — I was just translating. It is sound advice, though and the guy was actually earning the money he was paid by giving it even though it cost him a client.) In fact Gulen could have gotten permanent residency as an investor or an executive very easily given the kind of money his organization commands, but they seem to have pushed for ‘outstanding educator’ on purpose.
    .
    Anyway none of the goings on would really hurt Gulen or his top people unless something extraordinary happens. It is more likely that some poor sakirts will be hurt be it though extra scrutiny in H1b applications or whatever and perhaps some poor kids who were receiving a good educations — though cheap/volunteer labor — will see their schools closed.

  22. AFAIR, initially, they didn’t want to. Then Gulen’s people sued the INS (or whatever it is called now) to get it. Those who testified on his behalf are the ones you should be suspicious of. The docket should be available somewhere on the ‘net. Wikileaks documents also have some talk about who they asked for testimonials from here and what kind of discomfort it caused.

    That depends on who you mean by “they”. The intelligence community always supported him. The hapless immigration officials who did not know who they were dealing with naively looked over the application and brushed it aside because Gulen had no scholarship (extraordinary ability):

    Plaintiff insists that he “has submitted substantial
    evidence that he has authored scholarly articles in the
    field of religious tolerance and education.” Pl. Mem., at
    60. It is important to bear in mind that plaintiff is not
    seeking a preferential visa based on his expertise in
    religious tolerance; he is seeking preferential treatment
    because he claims to be an alien of unusual ability in the
    field of education. And despite his repeated, conclusory
    assertions to the contrary, he has not submitted any
    evidence that he has authored scholarly articles in the
    field of education. He has not identified one single book
    or article authored by himself (scholarly or not) in the
    field of education. The evidence of record amply supports
    the agency’s determination that plaintiff did not meet the
    criterion set forth in 8 C.F.R. § 204(h) (3) (vi) (authorship
    of scholarly articles in the field).

    Gulen’s defense responded with a priceless argument: Gulen is a obviously scholar therefore anything he does is scholarship:

    The Oxford English Dictionary defines scholarly as
    “[p]ertaining to, or characterizing, a scholar; befitting, or
    natural to, a scholar; learned, erudite.” XIV Oxford English
    Dictionary 630 (2d ed. 1989). This definition makes clear that a work becomes scholarly by virtue of its author and its subject matter, not its intended audience.

    Just look at all the scholarship that revolves around him! How can anyone deny that he is a scholar?! If the definition doesn’t fit, you must acquit!

  23. Perhaps an alien of extraordinary ability was masquerading as a Federal Judge? In any event he could have stayed in the US through other means, they must have wanted this ‘educator’ judgment.

  24. That was exactly the kind of politics I was suspicious of. It must be extremely insulting for my friends who have been experiencing substantial hardships during this process. Political value or lack thereof must be the determinant here.

  25. It is the Humpty Dumpty defense: a word means just what I choose it to mean.

  26. Nihat,

    the US establishment is not a single-minded mono-body.

    You’re not the first person (on this blog or elsewhere) to have pointed out that euphemism to me.
     
    And, up to a point, I agree, especially since you did use ‘body’ as metaphor.
     
    It is easy to identify with the body metaphor.
     
    After all, even my own body does a lot of things I don’t consciously command –especially on the internal functioning of my body.
     
    Thing is, depending on the nature of the issue, especially if it also concerns external entities (other bodies or the environment), there’s something called the brain that intervenes with things to prevent their otherwise natural course of actions.
     
    Defecation, urination or flatulence in public (or in space suits) are a few I can name among the many of such interventions.
     
    So, while I do sympathize with your ‘body’ metaphor –plus, of course, the appreciation of the US establishment–, you will, I expect, also understand why I fail to buy that argument –especially if the issue has international connotations and is important enough that New York Times devotes one and half pages to it.

    They are currently being put under the microscope for potentially irregular, illegal (immoral if you like) aspects of their enterprise by some segments of that establishment. Some other segments are indeed defending them.

    I am neither defending or attacking them; but I do notice the fuzzy style the US establishment employs when it issues a more-than-mild warning to someone/something/some_country. Indeed, almost all elements are there: Even though they have nothing concrete yet, million dollar figures are flying in the air in the usual vaguely insinuating manner.
     
    Tie that with the ‘alarming number’ of such schools –which they /think/ are related to one central figure, as if it all happened overnight– and it should not be too hard to see there’s something more in there than merely whether charter schools are good or bad.

  27. Emre. I am sure you have seen the 2009 article by Rachel Sharon-Krespin titled Fethullah Gülen’s Grand Ambition. It’s also a very insightful article but with a miscalculation on the number of mosques per population which created a major attack point for many Gulenists who wanted to discredit the whole article based on that.

    I believe Gulen schools are nothing more than a convenient tool to integrate into American society and to interact and connect with local, state, and national officials. Much smarter than opening Mosques and trying to explain how and why “Islam is religion of peace.” However, with more Gulen schools in many states and in these times, when American teachers are getting laid off and education budgets are cut, parents and American teachers have little patience with (foreign) teachers struggling to teach courses in English. There are many blogs that go into that and interestingly Gulenists are quick to set up similarly named blogs to pump up the organization.

    I think the whole thing has to be viewed in a broader perspective and I am summarizing my thoughts on that for the next posting. Chronic, that will be my response to your question to me as well.

  28. It is important to bear in mind that plaintiff is not seeking a preferential visa based on his expertise in religious tolerance; he is seeking preferential treatment because he claims to be an alien of unusual ability in the field of education.

    This (the part I highlighted) is true. He did, after all, through his relatively few videos, perform far better than a lot of Open Universities have.
     
    And, I can see why he wasn’t presented as an executive, an investor or a businessman; doing so would connect him with money which would leave him exposed to all sorts of inquiries and investigations.
     
    He couldn’t be a ‘clergyman’ for at least 2 reasons:
     
    1) Immigration and Naturalization Act, Sec. 203, 4b1., ‘Priority workers’ [here] does not qualify ‘clergyman’ to be issues visas under the discretion of the Secretary of Homeland Security.
     
    2) If he did get issued a visa for being a ‘clergyman’, The Cemaat might have hard time explain themselves in TR.

  29. {edit-CA. Format}
     

    It is important to bear in mind that plaintiff is not seeking a preferential visa based on his expertise in religious tolerance; he is seeking preferential treatment because he claims to be an alien of unusual ability in the field of education.

    This (the part I highlighted) is true. He did, after all, through his relatively few videos, perform far better than a lot of Open Universities have.
     
    And, I can see why he wasn’t presented as an executive, an investor or a businessman; doing so would connect him with money which would leave him exposed to all sorts of inquiries and investigations.
     
    He couldn’t be a ‘clergyman’ for at least 2 reasons:
     
    1) Immigration and Naturalization Act, Sec. 203, 4b1., ‘Priority workers’ [here] does not qualify ‘clergyman’ to be issues visas under the discretion of the Secretary of Homeland Security.
     
    2) If he did get issued a visa for being a ‘clergyman’, The Cemaat might have hard time explain themselves in TR.

  30. CA, you don’t have to buy anything; I wasn’t trying to sell something anyway –euphemisms or metaphors are in your mind, the rest is my limited language skills. Also, I don’t find it odd that an imperfect society without advanced democracy but with decentralized power structures, diverse constituencies and free speech looks fuzzy to you.

  31. He expects reality to conform to his figures of speech, rather than the other way around.

  32. JW, are you censoring this thread?

  33. Only the Asian joke, which I thought was racist. I have no sense of humor about that, sorry. (Actually spam caught them first.) A couple of legitimate messages were also spammed for mysterious reasons, but I rescued them.

  34. I have no sense of humor about that, sorry. (Actually spam caught them first.)

    At least you got a joke out of it!

  35. Only the Asian joke, which I thought was racist.

    I don’t see why, but this is your blog.
    .
    Now, I have to find a succinct way of telling Nihat that it wasn’t my intention to rub him the wrong way.
    .
    Could you help?

  36. CA, you don’t need to explain. I don’t question your intentions. But, it is true that my patience has turned pretty thin lately (in general, about anything, online or in real life); hence my terse reply. Sorry, I did not mean to be disrespectful.

  37. Nihat,

    But, it is true that my patience has turned pretty thin lately (in general, about anything, online or in real life); hence my terse reply.

    While it shouldn’t, it does happens to all of us. Here’s something (I think I have made it up, but as it has been such a long time, I am not sure) I tell my self when I recovered enough to begin climbing up from the trough: “Life would be totally meaningless if it didn’t lose its meaning sometimes..”.
     
    I am not sure if it’s that meaningful, but it helps me put things back in perspective.

    Sorry, I did not mean to be disrespectful.

    Estagfurullah. It was I who was careless with words –more than usual, that is.

  38. Jenny,
    That was racist? You’d censor jokes, say, about folks from Eastern Black Sea region? Here’s something that doesn’t quite fit the situation as CA’s link did but has accents and stereotypes just the same (and no it isn’t offensive to me and my entire family is from that region), let’s try: http://www.seniste.com/site/karikatur/resim/888.jpg

  39. Let’s see if this will end in spam as well. And no jokes please!

    My thoughts on the US/Fethullah/Erdogan issue start at the origin. Both Fethullah and Erdogan were initially supported by the Jewish lobby here in US and in Turkey. Thus supported by the US. Let’s not forget the awards given to Erdogan in the past by the Jewish organization. The reason for the support may be several fold, including the history of recognition, Turkish military’s very close cooperation with the Israeli military, although Erdogan had much Islamist rhetoric to his credit none really anti-Semitic and he looked good and moderate (whatever that means) amongst other Middle East and Arab leaders. The one-eyed king among the blind.

    Obviously even before 9/11 there was the desperate need to create a non-violent Islamic country that hopefully could be a model for the rest. Basically an attempt to reform not Islam as a whole but to redirect radical Islam. Hence, the creation of the terms “moderate Islamic” “Muslim democracy” during the Clinton – Bush era.

    Further, the location of such a country has to be near the origin of Islam in ME. It can’t be in far east ie, Malaysia. Devout Islamists will not take them seriously and they are too far to have an impact at the heart of the problem which is the ME. Turkey fits this description best and as the leader /caliph of the “umma” for centuries, it carried a lot of credibility and respect. Until Ataturk came along, in their minds of course.

    And who cares if Turkey becomes Islamisized in the process and women start to cover up, become less significant, restrict alcohol, (core signals) etc etc as long as it becomes a great “peace loving Islamic nation” example to the rest. In fact, Turkey has to make some of these changes in the society so that more extreme Islamist nations can more easily accept Turkey as a role model. Timing may have been great. How many Turkey/role model articles and titles have we all seen in the last few months as some of Arabic nations implode. Keep in mind that Obama has a hijab wearing advisor, and Hillary has an Arabic speaking Muslim assistant. So their view of the secularist Turks who complain about the changes in Turkey simply becomes “what’s your problem?” And let’s not forget every president will adhere to T Roosevelt’s philosophy of relating to the world in terms of national interest.

    Graham Fuller, former chairman of the National Intelligence Council at CIA summarized it best in his 2004 article by basically saying that secularism failed in Turkey and that Turkey can be more useful to the West as an Eastern power with political integration of Islam. Remember he was one of the ex-CIA directors who provided a reference for Gulen’s residency application.

    I think the turning point came with the flotilla incident last year. Erdogan maybe forgot his role in this Greater ME Initiative or got too big for his britches and decided to take it a step ahead for who knows exactly why besides the obvious for solidifying his Islamist base in Turkey as well as heightening his standing in the ME and Muslim world. And whether Gulen agreed with it or not he did not want to jeopardize his status in US and with the Jewish community. Thus Gulen came out within weeks and criticized Erdogan’s Gaza flotilla and was quickly described in the US media as “wise and courageous Turkish Imam”. If anyone else did that, there would be endless and brutal barrage of attacks in the Turkish media. Not for the ultimate Imam.

    Most Islamists and Gulenists would reject the above opinion as another Kemalist/ secularist conspiracy theory. My only response is why? That’s exactly what I would do and support if I were on the other side. Either as a policymaker in US or an Islamist in Turkey finally in a position to get back my Islamist way of life that Ataturk took away. Don’t like it but totally get their point.

  40. Bulent, from one LAZ to another, I liked the joke.

  41. ST, the one-minute and flotilla incidents may mark a turning point as far as the West-Erdogan/AKP relations are concerned, but they don’t explain the Gulenists’ US enterprise coming under scrutiny now, as CA was asking –especially considering Gulen’s coming against Erdogan’s take on those issues. Why now? Why now? My take on it is, why not now? With their evasiveness, denials, lofty altruistic explanations, Islamic character/background, etc., they make an obvious target for all sorts of American interest groups as well as ordinary people with ordinary secular concerns. Suspicions and allegations from this broad coalition of detractors were bound to spill over and attract official attention (FBI, IRS, labor dept.’s, etc.). This is what’s happening imo. Some odaks may not have pulled protective strings though. Then again, maybe, they haven’t just yet.

  42. Yes, not only “Obama has a hijab wearing advisor, and Hillary has an Arabic speaking Muslim assistant” but also I heard even professors with headscarf are allowed to teach in universities in USA. Secularism is in danger in USA there is not question about that. Not only the Arab countries but the US need an Ataturk.

    As for US-Gulen relationship, I see two approaches here. We are worried about the US because it seems the US government can not see how dangerous Gulen is. At the same time, we see Gulen an agent of the US in the region. I want to ask the same question again. If that is an evil alliance. Do we think both Gulen and the US are evil?

    My personal opinion is they should ask Gulen to return Turkey. That will make the US safer and more secular. But what about Turkey?

    His presence in the US is not ironic. in Turkey not only Islamists but also anti-American Kemalists, Communists and Nationalists hate America but at the same time try their best to go to the US, live and work there.

  43. Leave the troll baiting to people who know how to do it.

  44. Nihat, as I indicated in my previous comment, I am not convinced this is a government backed scrutiny. I think with more schools, more parents are complaining and also learning about the background of these schools. It’s getting picked up by the local media and rehashed. There were even claims of target practice with automatic weapons at his vast compound.

    It doesn’t make sense to go after “peaceful” Fethullah and his Rumi org with “friendship dinners” and “Noah’s Pudding” nights when CAIR with Muslim Brotherhood connections files a lawsuit in Oklahoma to overturn an approved referendum that basically stated “one can only use State and Federal laws in OK.”

    Meanwhile in Turkey, as you know Gul is a follower of Fethullah sect but Erdogan is not. And with Erdogan’s next presidential ambition, the recent elimination and shuffling of AKP members by Erdogan is believed to be his purging of Gul loyalists (Gul opposes the presidential system) in order to enable easy constitutional revision for the next step in the sultanate.

  45. Nicea, according to Peter Hammond Muslims population of around 2% is regarded as a peace-loving minority, and not as a threat to other citizens.

  46. or maybe tomorrow CHP will win the elections and we will not have to hope a quarrel between Gul and Erdogan. so it depends on what Turkish people will decide tomorrow. i hope they are as smart and modern as you guys.

  47. Emre, care to clarify that comment?

  48. and according to Economist Turkish people should vote for CHP tomorrow. We will see how smart Turkish people are.

  49. the one-minute and flotilla incidents may mark a turning point as far as the West-Erdogan/AKP relations are concerned, but they don’t explain the Gulenists’ US enterprise coming under scrutiny now, as CA was asking –especially considering Gulen’s coming against Erdogan’s take on those issues.

    Well, to begin with MFG did not speak out against the Flotilla strongly enough. And, he couldn’t have, or he would have alienated for too much of his grassroots –they already had a icy cold shower when he brushed aside the headscarf issue which was so dear to the hydroponically cultivated Muslimlets and hence they were already growing somewhat leery of him. IOW, you can’t do reindoctrinations so fast and so suddenly.
     
    Anyway.
     
    Looking at it all once again, it would be an exaggeration to call it a warning by ‘the US Establishment’; it is more like an internal dispute (within a group that has strong influence on the US Establishment) spilled over to become partially public.
     
    And, I think it was a mistake on their part to elevate it to 1.5 pages in NYT –it does also look like an action in haste.
     
    They should have been more realist (as opposed to Israel-sentimentalist) to see MFG was quite rigidly constrained –that he couldn’t have done any more than he did. Moving to curb him by creating a mountain out of a mole hill in order to get him to be confronted with the US establishment would not be in the larger interests of US.

  50. Emre, no response? OK!

    I thought maybe there is another Az-adam on this site ….just a suspicion as the original “Bitmis”

    If it doesn’t mean a thing to you then I got the wrong Emre.
    Sorry.

  51. Snapping Turtle, I was referring to nicea, not you!

  52. :)

  53. “as I indicated in my previous comment, I am not convinced this is a government backed scrutiny”
    .
    Ok, ST, I must have missed that indication then. We are in agreement regarding the rest and in general.

  54. Graham Fuller, former chairman of the National Intelligence Council at CIA summarized it best in his 2004 article by basically saying that secularism failed in Turkey and that Turkey can be more useful to the West as an Eastern power with political integration of Islam.

    I presume you are referring to this article: Turkey’s Strategic Model:Myths and Realities

  55. these “gulen” schools are a propaganda front for islam islam which is dangerous no matter how it is packaged.

    the twin fogs of political correctness & ignorance must be dispersed before western society better understands this menace. even a brief review of islamic theology & history quickly exposes the deadly roots of this evil ideology.

    see the links in the pdf version below for more accurate info about islam
    ==========

    islam is a horrible ideology for human rights

    5 key things about islam

    1. mythical beliefs – all religions have these (faith) because its part of being a religion: having beliefs without proof until after the believer dies. the problem is people will believe almost anything.

    2. totalitarianism – islam has no seperation of church and state: sharia law governs all. there is no free will in islam: only submission to the will of allah as conveniently determined by the imams who spew vapors to feather their own nests. there are no moderate muslims: they all support sharia law.

    3. violence – islam leads the pack of all religions in violent tenets for their ideology & history: having eternal canonical imperatives for supremacy at all costs and calling for violence & intimidation as basic tools to achieve these goals.

    4. dishonesty – only islam has dishonesty as a fundamental tenet: this stems from allah speaking to mohamed & abrogation in the koran which is used to explain how mo’s peaceful early life was superseded by his warlord role later.

    5. misogyny – present day islam is still rooted in 8th century social ethics: treating females as property of men good only for children, severely limiting their activities, dressing them in shower curtains and worse.

    conclusions ??

    there really are NO redeeming qualities for this muddled pile of propaganda.

    islam is just another fascist totalitarian ideology used by power hungry fanatics on yet another quest for worldwide domination and includes all the usual human rights abuses & suppression of freedoms.

    graphics version
    http://img829.imageshack.us/img829/5792/dangero.jpg

    1 page pdf version – do file/download 6kb viewer doesn’t show fonts well, has better fonts header footer links, great for emailing printing etc
    http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B_UyNP-72AVKYWNiNTFlYTEtMTA1ZC00YjhiLTljMDUtMDhhNDE0NDMzNmYz

    thanks :)

  56. FYI, FWIW: A recent Gulen interview (in Turkish)

  57. http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/2008/07/howglentriumphed/

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