How Gulen and Gulenists Manipulate People
Kurdishaspect.com - By Dr. Aland Mizell
The current power fight between Prime Minister Erodgan and retired Imam Gulen’s mission organization has revealed Gülen’s real agenda. Prime Minister Erdogan is launching a criminal investigation into an alleged “parallel devlet,” “a state within a state.“ Prime Minister Erdogan put the emeritus Imam Gülen and his mission organization under the spotlight in the election campaigns. Because this election and the next presidential election will determine the future of Turkey, it is a question of the survival of Turkey, Erdogan, and Gülen. If the Prime Minister wins, it will be the end of post-retirement Imam Gülen. If Gülen wins, then it will be the end of Erdogan; therefore, instead of campaigning against the opposition political parties, Prime Minister Erdogan is campaigning against the elderly but powerful Gülen.
After the March election Gülen could be charged with espionage and even be sentenced to jail. Gülen’s Muslim mission organization has become one of the most powerful organizations in Turkey because it has developed a parallel state, raising the question of how Gülen managed to become one of the most powerful Islamic organizations there and around the world. If you ask former Imam Gülen and his followers, they think Allah has chosen them, and that Mohammed is with them since they are the 21sth century Sahabe, followers of Mohammed. But if you ask skeptics like Prime Minster Erdogan, many others, and this writer, the key to the success of Gülen’s mission organization is lies, deceit, manipulations, secrecy, wiretapping, and intimidation. The Prime Minister is now revealing the lies we all know, and, thankfully, the life span of lies is short. As of now, Prime Minister Erdogan’s legal advisor is working on extradition of the supposedly self-discharged Imam Gülen to Turkey for being the leader of a state within a state, “a parallel devlet,” to destroy the Turkish State. Leo Tolstoy once said that anything is better than lies and deceit. Now many people agree that Gülen frequently psychologically manipulates his followers to ensure control. Gülenists work day and night to create a public image that is totally contradictory to reality. Some of the ways that he manipulates his followers, and they in turn manipulate others are:
Submission to Gulen’s leadership (Itaat Etmek): Retired Imam Gülen tends to be absolute, believing that he is chosen by Allah; he is constantly talking to the Prophet Mohammed, as a specially anointed one with the result being that some of his followers think he is Mehdi, or the Messiah. Therefore, they are promoting Imam Gülen’s ideas instead of those of the Prophet Mohammed.
Divided society into two camps (Hizemet icindeki ve hizmet disindakiler): Whoever is a follower of Gülen and joins his group becomes all that is good and will be saved, but those who do not follow him are bad and are not going to be saved.
No critical thinking: No one can question Gülen or his leadership; no one can engage in rational thinking; and everyone has to be submissive to his rule, even if the leaders are doing wrong. According to Gülen, submission to his leaders will result in Allah’s blessing them, honoring them, and adding another blessing to their deeds. Those who question Gülen will be ex-communicated from his group, be considered a betrayer, and not be trusted. For example, the co-founder of his movement, Nuretting Veren, the first Gülen protege for more than three decades; Latif Erdogan, another writer; journalist Ahmet Tasgetrien; and so many others are no longer with Gülen’s group. Besides excommunication, Gülenists are using his media to defame and slander those who do not share the same view of him
Use lawyers to sue ex-members and critics of retired Imam Gülen: Gülen and his followers often use fabricated evidence and cause financial stress on those who reject them by repeated law suits or by incarceration to harass and intimidate his critics and to silence them. If someone speaks negatively towards the goals of retired Imam Gülen, the organization engages in a slander campaign, so that the victim ends up severing ties with family, including children, and friends. For example, when Nurettin Veren criticized Gülen, the organization used Mr. Veren’s children against him. Recently we note so many ex-teachers who taught in Gülen schools in the US before they started to speak against Gulen. Subsequently, Gulenists threatened to sue them and therefore some of the teachers acquiesced because of the fear of being sued. However, now many Americans realize that Gülen is not what his followers describe him to be.
Guarantees of salvation: Those who follow Gülen support him or join his group for their salvation, thinking that it is thereby guaranteed. For example, former secular and leftist Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, who was a firm enemy of Islam’s way of life, has helped prevent the closing of the schools. Gülen told his followers that Ecevit has been saved by this act. Also, since Erdogan did not follow Gülen‘s way of life and now objects to his brand of Islam, Gülen compares Erdogan to Pharaoh, and some of his followers went even further calling Erdogan the devil.
Monopoly on religion and power: Gülen and his followers are trying not to leave room for any other Islamic movements or organizations to serve. They believe they are the chosen one, and that they are the only ones who speak the truth; consequently, they should lead and rule. Gülenists see themselves as owners of the Republic of Turkey, and as such force others to believe in their way of life, history and religion. Gülen is thirsty for power; all his speeches are about power. For example, Gülenists manipulated Erdogan to close down all the Kurdish youth community organizations that were trying to recruit young Kurdish people, so that they would not join Gülen’s groups. I hope that Erdogan will release all the Group of Communities in Kurdistan (KCK) members from prison. Why Gülen and his followers are against the KCK’s activities in the region is an important question, but will be the topic of another article. In the past, Gülenists have managed to manipulate many Kurds to follow him, telling the Kurds that Gülen himself is of Kurdish decent and that he is a follower of Kurdish scholar Said Nursi. The ploy worked, and many naïve Kurds joined him and became his followers. However, now many Kurds realize that they were being manipulated, and that Gülen and his organization are the biggest obstacle to Kurdish freedom and peace in the region. Because violence helps Gülen’s organization to be seen as an alternative voice, peace would thwart them and slow down his organization. The Kurdish people no longer support the Gülen movement, so Gülen thinks the best way to retaliate is to defame the KCK in the eyes of the Kurdish people. That is why Gülen does not want to have peace between the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the government, and it is also why he was not happy with the Prime Minister for ending the bloodshed and for giving a chance for peace negotiations to work.
End justifies the means: For Gülen and Gülenists any actions or behavior is justifiable as long as it serves his goals. Gülen believes he is absolute truth and, as such, is above all man-made laws.
Denial of tactics: Gülen and his followers are hiding their true nature and continue to mislead the public. For example, Gülen and his followers denied that his movement is tightly organized, that he has a hierarchy, that he rules the organization, and even that he knows how many schools he has around the world. The organization says Gülen is not a movement leader; he has nothing to do with the operation of the schools and the NGO, media, and businesses, but in reality several audio files featuring retired Imam Gülen’s telephone conversations leaked to the internet, alleged testaments by several police officers, bureaucrats, and district governors. Lawyers with confidential black lists and letters from Gülen’s plebes pledging their allegiance to the retired Imam Gülen have emerged. Another voice recording revealed Imam Gülen’s ties with two business conglomerates in Turkey, Koc and Sabanci, and shows Gülen’s illegal relations, ranging from rigging bids on international enterprises in Uganda to favoring his supporters in business deals to managing financial operations of businessman and banks. The audio demonstrates that without the retired Imam Gülen’s order nothing is implemented, and that with a tight rein in hand Gülen makes decisions about everything that is happening.
According to the public image, in his schools Gülen helps poor people and does not charge high tuition fees. He claims his schools are not political, that none indoctrinate the students, and that his schools do not represent Islam to those enrolled. According to him, everyone is equal in the movement; believes in democracy; teaches love, union, dialogue, and peace; and advocates being a united not a divided people. Actually, Gülen believes power is very important. By contrast to his proclamations, in reality Gulen’s movement is very structured and hierarchical. Like the Catholic Pope, Gülen is the top and sole authority in the movement, and without his order no one can make decisions or move. Gülen’s schools charge the highest tuition and do not help the poor. Gülen’s followers are under very specific orders, and it is mandatory to follow and read Gülen’s books and ideas. The former imam is very authoritarian, having nothing to do with democracy, peace, love, or tolerance.
Retired Imam Gülen’s public image of democracy, tolerance, peace, dialogue, peace:
Retired Imam Gülen deceives the people by arguing that his organization is purely civilian and a nonreligious organization in the West and the United States, but in Turkey, his leaders are showing that they are truly a religious organization following Saidi Kurdi’s works. If the former Imam and his followers are really democratic and pro-justice, arguing for dialogue and tolerance, then they should have to side with justice and truth, and they should stand by the weak and oppressed Kurds. How many times has the retired Imam Gülen condemned the military for destroying so many Kurdish villages? Instead he and his followers have accused those who called themselves Kurds or who fight for their Kurdish rights of being terrorists and put in jail more than 10 thousands Kurdish intellectuals, politicians, students, journalists, and youth in the KCK. What the retired imam is doing is exploiting the faith to gain power, to monopolize religion, and to contradict democratic values.
Gülen traveled to the United Sates for medical reason: In 1999, then the very active Imam Gülen escaped to the United States having been charged with attempting to replace the secular government with his version of Islam. However, Gülen with the help of the AKP did bring down the secular government. Now that he is no longer sick and no longer wanted by the government, the question is why is he not going back to his country despite Prime Minister Erdogan’s invitation for him to come back? The movement lied to the people saying the reason that Gülen lives in the US is that he wanted to be away from the politically charged atmosphere in Turkey; however, it is not true. Gülen is trying to overthrow the democratically elected government by using Turkey’s corruption scandals to replace those in position with his followers and then plans to return to Turkey. According to some of the Turkish media, his people were preparing palaces for Gülen to occupy in Ankara, Istanbul and Bursa; however, his plan failed, and instead he may end up being a neighbor of Abdullah Oçalan, leader of the Kurdish guerilla movement. After the March elections, the Prime Minister will do everything to extradite him to Turkey and will charge him with espionage and with setting up an illegal state within a state.
Democracy: Retired Imam Gülen’s ideas contradict free democratic values. In his organization there is very little space for self-expression and no space for different opinions. Television, books, magazines, newspaper are all restricted to those approved by the Abi or Abla (big brother or sister in charge of the group) with the outcome that the students read only Gülen’s books.
Even if the corruption charges about the current Turkish administration are true, the Gülen organization leaders are wrong and should be punished, but retired Imam Gülen also should be punished as well. Advocates of democracy and equality should allow people to be critical, to think for themselves, to understand Islam freely apart from his dictates, and to question their leaders. However, no one dares to criticize Gülen even if he is wrong. A Turkish proverb says, “The liar’s candle burned until the evening prayer” describing the nature of lies, that all lies will be uncovered. Today retired Imam Gülen’s and his followers’ real goals and incentives to open all the schools, business, and NGOs have been uncovered, so that he can no longer fool the people in the name of tolerance, dialogue, love, justice, equality, and democracy. Gülen and his media have shown that their Imam Gülen is pro-peace process with the PKK, but in reality Gülen was calling on the Turkish military to attack Kurdish guerilla to destroy and kill all of them. The Turkish government had been doing that for three decades.
Gülen and his followers remain the greatest hurdle to the Kurdish peace process. For a long time former Imam Gülen manipulated people saying that he and his organization were not political and that his principle was to keep the same distance from every political figure and to support whoever is serving society without discrimination. But in reality Gülen has declared war on the AKP and the Prime Minister and ordered a full political jihad against the AKP, instead of supporting the Republican People’s Party (CHP), and the ultra nationalist party MHP over the AKP party. Many people are asking questions. If retired Imam Gülen was advocating dialogue, tolerance and peace, why has he declared total war on the AKP and Prime Minister Erdogan and encouraged his followers not to take a step back but to continue to fight? Gülen always told his followers to be cautious and to avoid anything that would harm his mission organization, but why is he committing political suicide by fighting the democratically elected government in Turkey? Is it that Gülen has gained enough power and has calculated that now is the time to topple Erdogan? Is it that Gülen knows so much about the AKP? Is it that Gülen is losing control of his organization? Is Gülen’s mental health no longer in a condition to make the right judgments? Has Gülen become a global organization and lots of spy agencies have infiltrated his organization? Are some external powers that do not want Gülen to return Turkey using him? Will Gülen return to Turkey? Will Erdogan be able to send him to prison for espionage? Who will win this battle, Gülen or Erdogan? Will Gülen be able to continue to manipulate people? For the answers to all these questions, we will wait to see after the March elections, but one answer is clear; Gülen no longer just an imam, Gülen has greater aspirations to set up his version of a utopian world.
Dr. Aland Mizell. You may email the author at:email@example.com