Op mijn stukje Interreligieusiteit met Fethullah Gülen reageerde Yesilkoy Press Agency met een verwijzing en de opmerking dat deze in de VS wonende Turkse prediker voor de CIA werkt. Vandaag werden door WikiLeaks GIF-files e-mails gepubliceerd die ingaan op de relatie tussen de aan Fethullah Gülen verbonden krant Zaman en Stratfor. De analyses van Strafor bevestigen de verbondenheid tussen AK-partij van premier Erdoğan en de Gülen-beweging. Die buiten Turkije een multireligieuze en binnen Turkije een islamistische agenda heeft. Deze conservatieve beweging waakt ervoor zelf in het nieuws te komen.
Uit de e-mails blijkt dat Stratfor een rapport heeft gepubliceerd waarin de Gülen beweging gewelddadig en islamistisch wordt genoemd. Woordvoerders van Zaman willen dat veranderd zien zonder met argumenten te komen. Stratfor bindt in om het contact met Zaman open te houden. Hier enkele onvertaalde passages:
For the first part of my trip, Emre and I have been hanging out with hardcore Gulenists. We started at Zaman headquarters (Zaman is main Gulenist newspaper and media voice for AKP, Today’s Zaman is the English-language daily). We met with the Editor in Chief of Today’s Zaman and the head of Cihan news agency (which runs their major media outlets). Cihan is now the most powerful media outlet in Turkey. It used to be Hurriyet, dominated by the nationalists, but they’re under attack (will get to that later). They explicitly represented themselves as part of the ‘jamaah’, or the ‘movement’, as they like to call it. The way they represent their agenda is that this is about democratization in Turkey, human rights, world peace, etc. The guy was actually quoting Western liberal philosophers trying to show how much in common they have with them in respect for these democratic values, and this is what’s essential for Turkey’s candidacy in the EU. The irony, they claim, is that people think because they’re Islamist, they’re fundamentalist and not modern, whereas the authoritarians (in their view) ie. the military, are the ones who are seen in the West as modern. This is what frustrates them. So, by promoting this peace, love and democracy campaign, they say they are fighting for constitutional reform, business and political pluralism, civilian control over military, judicial reform, etc.
That there is no secret agenda. (my note — what Emre and I noticed is that in all our meetings with Gulenists, they recite almost the same lines verbatim. they’re very well rehearsed in selling this model. At the root of this, however, is power. The established elite, ie. the military, Istanbul business giants, etc. are being threatened by an Islamist political vehicle fueled by the Anatolian small-to-med business class.) Both of the sources talked about how they need to raise an Anatolian business class to undermine the Istanbul giants (they essentially articulated our own theory, which was cool.).
We discussed the Ergenekon case a lot, which gave them plenty of opportunity to bash the military for being so irresponsible and disrespectful to the civilian government. What struck us most is how they claim they have allies within the military, people high up in rank, who are disaffected with the establishment and are WILLING to provide leaks to the Gulenist newspapers and intelligence services that support these coup allegations. We heard the exact same story the next day at a Gulenist organization that we visited. More likely this is an allusion to their successful penetration of the military (have sent more detailed insight on this previously)
We also discussed the Gulen schools that are spreading across the globe, expanding Turkish influence. Of course these are the schools with teh best resources, facilities. Students will learn how to speak Turkish, the national anthem, how to be the ‘right kind of Muslim’, etc. In essence, it buys them loyalty. We are still working on getting a complete database of Gulenist schools. They claim that have more than 2,000 in 200 countries so far.
The next day, Emre and I visited a major Gulenist organization that puts together these massive conferences all over the world to promote their agenda, raise funds, recruits, etc. Their office is in a very expensive part of Istanbul. They’ve got the best facilities, this beautiful theater system. In short, they’ve got money. Now you have to ask yourself, where is the money comingfrom? the head of the organization that met with us and propagandized us kept talking about all these peace love and harmony efforts to spread the Gulen ideas and democratize Turkey, spread Turkey’s influence, etc. But their funding comes mainly from co-opting the Anatolian business class. Again we heard about how they have allies within the military ‘brave’ enough to issue leaks on their coup plots.
Apart from this, Gulenists got over-concerned following our special report given their already tarnishing image in the US. We’ve been closely following AKP’s efforts to reverse this situation. However, we are an American company and we wrote in detail on how Gulen community works and their relationship to the AKP. They don’t have anything to say against the facts that we included, because we wrote the truth. But as Reva says, the mere fact that we wrote about them and how they work disturbed them intensely.
They won’t be happy unless we take their side. So, I don’t think that we need to work to make them happy. They are extremely skeptical to us because we are American, and I’m sure they wonder if there is an American plan in the works against Gulen and AKP and if we are a part of it. I think what we need to do is to convince them that there is no such a thing and we write what we know, without taking side by anyone. This could help us to maintain our relationships. Guidance would be much appreciated, especially given HDN republished our article.
Foto: Fethullah Gülen (l.) met Recep Tayyip Erdoğan