Followers discuss who will replace Gülen
Fevzi Kızılkoyun – ANKARA
REUTERS photoThe movement of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen has started discussions on who will replace the leader of the movement, with four members in the running to succeed the ailing leader, according to an intelligence report prepared by analysts who track the group’s activities.
The replacement discussion erupted after the failed July 15 coup attempt, believed to have been masterminded by the Gülenists, as divisions began occurring among Gülen’s followers. The movement is searching for a name to replace Gülen in the event he is extradited to Turkey or he continues to experience health problems.
According to the report, Şengül is the frontrunner to become the new leader.
The Gülen movement is also trying to prevent arrested members of the group from testifying against the group, the report also said. Accordingly, Gülenists have named an “imam” in prisons and those imams are engaging in “motivational activities.”
“Imam,” which traditionally refers to a religious public worker, is a term used by the Gülenist organization to mark local leadership.
The intelligence report also said the Gülenists prayed together against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and called on the members of the group to be “patient.”
Gülenists have been telling jailed members of the Gülen movement that they “will be released in two months” in order to prevent them from becoming informants.