Prominent Turkish religious leader Fethullah Gülen has defied promises by the prime minister to close down preparation schools, many of which are run by the scholar’s followers, calling on members of the movement to create alternatives.
"If they close your homes, you should open dorms. If they close your dorms, you will open new homes. If they close your schools, you will respond by opening a university. And when they close your university, you should open ten schools. You should never stop marching,” Gülen said in a video that was posted at Herkül.org, a website close to the movement.
"It is useless to protest the government's decision, you should find alternative ways to survive," he said.
The Gülen community has close relations with several large chains of private teaching centers that prepare students for the university entrance exam.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
has previously promised to close such schools by either 2013 or 2014, “regardless of who is hurt by the decision.”
Gülen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania for more than 10 years but remains an important political player in Turkey, was named one of the 10 most influential Muslims in the world by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, daily Hürriyet has reported.