MİT’s warning on Gülen 13 years ago
A significant benefit of the Parliamentary Inquiry Commission on the July 15, 2016, coup attempt is that it has registered all accessible information and documents about the Gülen movement, thus providing public access to them.
Among them there are two documents that have special importance. These are the presentations made by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and the Office of the General Staff at a National Security Council (MGK) meeting held on June 24, 2004, about the threats and foreign relations of the Gülen movement.
Following the discussions over these two presentations, at an MGK meeting held on Aug. 25, 2004, a recommendation was decided on “preparing an action plan” against the Gülen movement’s domestic and international activities, however this recommendation was not able to be followed because the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government did not take it to the cabinet.
An interesting point is that the person who submitted the texts of the presentations of MİT and the General Staff to MGK, to the parliamentary commission is a journalist. Daily Posta writer Nedim Şener, at the Oct. 25, 2016, meeting of the parliamentary commission, handed the texts of MİT’s “Gülen Group’s Activities Abroad” and the Office of the General Staff’s “Presentation for the Agenda Topic on Fethullah Gülen.” In 2004, when these presentations were made, MİT’s undersecretary was Şenkal Atasagun and Chief of General Staff was Gen. Hilmi Özkök.
Starting with the MİT presentation, in the nine-page presentation, the Gülen movement has been described as “an organizational structure like a state.” The dimension of the threat created by the group constitutes significance.
In this document, it is drawn to attention that as of 2004, the community had 276 educational institutes in five continents.
Another important aspect of the MİT presentation is that it said the Gülen movement, because it was different than other religious movements, was drawing attention of various circles in the international field.
And this group was evaluated within the context of globalization targets. The text of the MİT presentation pointed out that the Gülen movement was on the radar in the search for creating a moderate religious order representing Islam in the world after the 9/11 attacks.
The U.S. factor has a wide coverage in the MİT report. MİT reminds, in its presentation, that after settling in the U.S., Gülen made a serious staff transfer to this country. After this reminder, MİT said Russia also has “strategic concerns” in light of these developments.
Another finding of MİT in 2004 is this: “There are signs that certain Western countries have a tendency to benefit from the Gülen movement’s resources in far countries for their own cultural and strategic aims.”
The intelligence organization, then, analyzes the interest the U.S. is showing in the movement, basing it on a series of factors. In this part of the evaluation, MİT stated: “Several facilitations provided for Gülen’s health and residence issues, who has been living in the U.S. since 1999 and despite all the difficulties occurring in travels from Muslim countries after the 9/11 attacks, the fact that no serious problem was experienced in the contacts and communications of Gülen with his movement’s leaders in Turkey and in other countries, and the fact that hundreds of members who moved to the U.S. upon Gülen’s orders were able to enter the country easily are all significant in terms of demonstrating the interest of the U.S. in the movement.”
While the U.S. was involved in “the search for an alternative formation” against the “Middle East-based Islamic mentality with a tendency to generate terror,” according to MİT, the Gülen group also was making perfect use of the U.S.’s search for an alternative Islam. In MİT’s opinion, the role of the Gülen group is also in the U.S.’s Greater Middle East Project within the framework of the theory of “neutralizing the religion-oriented resistance with religion.”
MİT’s presentation refers to serious suspicions: “The control and the monitoring of the movement mentioned above and its institutions are an important issue” in terms of state interests.
For the record, this is an evaluation that has taken its place in state archives 13 years ago.