Turkey needs to cooperate with EU, Islamic scholar Gülen says
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Theologian Gülen lives in Pennsylvania since 1998.Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen said Turkey needed to make use of certain dynamics to take on a more active role in its region in an interview with the American Atlantic magazine.
Gülen, a self-exiled theologian living in the United States’ Pennsylvania and the leader of the “Hizmet” (Service) Islamist religious movement, was defined as a “Turkish religious spiritual leader.”
He also said Turkey’s ongoing relationship with the European Union is partly to be commended for the level of democratization Turkey has achieved so far when he was asked how he viewed Turkey’s current political ambitions and place in the world. “It is crucial for Turkey to preserve and advance its achievements in democratization, thanks in part to its ongoing relationship with the European Union,” he said.
“If there is a favorable view and positive perception of Turkey due to its historic ties in the region, Turkey should be careful to protect those perceptions. It should protect its reputation. Good relationships and influence depend on love, respect, and good will, and collaborating around mutually agreeable goals. Is Turkey doing these fully today or not? This is a question that deserves discussion. If Turkey is indeed able to develop good diplomatic relations in the region, I believe it will be in the interest of Europe, the United States and the world. But I don’t think Turkey is doing what it can toward this end at the moment,” he said.
“His network of followers span the globe and have opened academically-focused schools across 90 countries, including the U.S.,” the magazine said. Gülen left Turkey in 1998 to avoid charges of involvement in anti-secular activities.