Gülenists match-make to ensure followers marry each other: Testimony

Gülenists match-make to ensure followers marry each other: Testimony

Gülenists match-make to ensure followers marry each other: Testimony Lt.-Col. Gökhan Eski, who has admitted to ties with the Gülenist movement, has described the now outlawed group’s methods to ensure its followers marry from within the community by keeping photographs of eligible women and arranging meetings between interested parties. 

Eski said he was shown the pictures of around 30 women and had meetings with 10, Turkish daily Habertürk has reported. 

“Brothers would have head shots of women in their homes,” Eski told the police in his testimony, referring to “brothers and sisters” within the movement that indicate a rank in the Gülenist hierarchy. “They showed them to me. They also had full body shots. They also provided information about the woman’s code name, hometown, height, weight, whether she smoked or not, whether she wore a headscarf.”

Eski said he had to go through this process after his choices of a partner were not approved by his superiors within the movement. According to his testimony, he married someone despite his “brothers’” protests but ended up getting a divorce in 2010. He later got engaged to another woman, who was also not part of the organization, prompting the movement, termed the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), to start introducing him to women from the group. 

“The cult offered more than 30 women for me to leave my fiancée and marry someone else,” he said.

“I met around 10 people like this. The brother would arrange the meeting, which took place at houses of the cult,” he said, explaining that all parties were introduced with their code names during the 15-minute meeting where the man’s “brother” and the woman’s “sister” were also present.

“After the 15-minute meeting, each party would tell their opinion to their brother and sister. If both sides agree, a one-on-one open-door meeting is arranged, which lasts for an hour,” the soldier said. Even then, the parties would not exchange contact information and a second meeting would be arranged for the week after. 

“They arranged a second meeting for me twice, but I never went. I did not want to marry someone from the cult. I thought my marriage would not have any privacy,” Eski said.

Eski, who used the code name “Salih,” previous admitted to having bugged the room of the chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar.