Islamic scholar Gülen ‘speechless’ on gov’t action plan against his movement
ISTANBUL – Hürriyet
Fethullah Gülen lives in self-exile in the United States and has repeatedly refused invitations from the government to return to Turkey. Hürriyet photoIslamic Scholar Fethullah Gülen has described himself as “speechless” and expressed his dismay about a National Security Council (MGK) decision in 2004 signed by the government and recommending an action plan against his movement. The document released this week by daily Taraf had further heated up tensions between the Gülen movement and the government over the closure of test prep schools.
Gülen said that if the government had not undertaken steps to change the status of the test prep schools, a move strongly decried by his Hizmet [Service] movement and its media outlets, he would have used the “benefit of the doubt” and considered the document as something “circumstantial.”
“What was required for the benefit of the doubt was this: We don’t know the conditions of the time. We weren’t related with the matter so that we can know its background and assess it with its philosophy. This is how I would have looked at it if it had not had a continuation,” Gülen said in statements released on his website herkul.org on Nov. 30.
“But after statements that confirmed [the document], and the things that have been done, not only I felt shattered, but I am left speechless,” he added.
Some government officials confirmed the document's existence, but denied that any action had been undertaken after it was issued.
“The thought that someone can do anything because he possesses power can push him to do unjust things,” Gülen also said, in an apparent criticism of the government, adding that there were many things that they chose not to express, urging the members of his movement to be vigilant.
Use of alcohol and drugs in schools most importatnt issue
Gülen also stressed that the most important issue in Turkish schools was the increasing alcohol, cigarette and drug use among students. “While there is such a problem, which can potentially expand such a metastatic cancer, forgive me but, dealing with such small issues is in a way failing to see what’s important. I have difficulties to understand it,” he said.
On Nov. 29, Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş claimed that the Gülen movement was well-aware of the document, but its release in the Turkish press was a sign that the conflict with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was deepening.
Many interpreted that the government’s intention in changing the status of the test prep schools, known as dershanes, as a step against the Gülen movement, which is running a number of such institutions.