Islamic scholar Gülen calls for ‘reasonability’ in test prep school row

Islamic scholar Gülen calls for ‘reasonability’ in test prep school row

Islamic scholar Gülen calls for ‘reasonability’ in test prep school row

The movement founded by Fethullah Gülen had slammed moves to reform the education system and close down test prep schools.

Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has called on the government to act “reasonably” in its plan to close test prep schools, saying that his movement was receiving a “slap,” in a veiled reference to a recent statement from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. 

“[We should] insist on what’s right and reasonable. Otherwise, it means being inclined to futility. If you say, ‘Let’s demolish these schools, these are futile’ or ‘Let’s stop the opening process, it’s futile,’ God will call [you] to account,” Gülen said, according to statements posted via Twitter on Nov. 27 by the editor of his official website,, Osman Şimşek.

“You cannot stay indifferent to this. That would mean staying indifferent against one’s right. You have to defend it without making concessions in the language you use,” Gülen said in an apparent message to members of his “Hizmet” (Service) movement. 

The movement founded by Gülen, a scholar who has been in self-exile in the United States for years, had previously described the move to reform the education system built on the test prep schools, known as “dershanes,” as tantamount to a military coup.

Erdoğan responded to the accusations, saying the Gülen Movement was seeking to hit the government.

“Back in the day, the media gave us slaps for ‘making arrangements as per [the wishes] of the [Gülen] movement. Now, it is our brothers [of the movement] who are trying to give the government a slap,” the prime minister said.

Without openly quoting Erdoğan, Gülen said it was in fact his movement that was receiving a slap due to the government’s plan.

Erdoğan made new offers regarding the government’s move on the weekend, offering new incentives to dershane owners and teachers to agree to change the status of the prep schools to private schools.