Is the US ‘clueless’ about Fethullah Gülen?

By: Hilal Kaplan*

 The following words, uttered during a closed-door conversation between Fethullah Gülen and his followers, were broadcast in 1999 on the Turkish television channel ATV.

“Specifically, the presence of our friends is the guarantee of this business for the sake of Islam’s future. Therefore, the presence of our friends in the judiciary, state bureaucracy or any other crucial institutions should not be addressed as individual obligations and evaluated in this way. In other words, these are our guarantees in those units for the sake of the future. Discover the ways of the system to walk into the future. This system still continues. Our friends will walk into the future within this system. So, they must know, discover and overcome the capacity of that system.

“This is another aspect of the issue. You will not resort to power in a place where there is no balance of power. Your heart is important in technical tactical places. Some outside will accuse us of cowardice. If you find an opportunity and always proceed on your way, you will show flexibility there. Use that eccentricity; pretend to move back, but move ahead by expanding your steps further. This goes for all of our friends, regardless of whether they work in the state bureaucracy or judiciary. They must continue to serve in this way until the moment when Muslims reach a certain point and consistency. If they make moves to attack earlier, the world will crush their heads as in Algeria. Casualties must not be allowed. Therefore, the protection of our friends either in this or that agency is very important. Let us not experience [what happened] in Algeria, Syria and Egypt.”

When this video was aired, it caused heated public debate about Gülen, whose political perspective is apparently centered on bringing the state cadre or departments under the domination of his group. The police and the judiciary are the first institutions that must be “taken over.” Indeed, if they are able to obtain absolute domination over constitutional institutions, then there is no need to enter politics, or to try to win an election by legitimate means. If they are able to become organized within the state bureaucracy, then, no matter who is in government, they will be the true power that directs the state.

However, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) spoiled this “game plan” when they defeated the Gülenist’s deep state judicial coup, which was based on trumped-up corruption allegations (similar to what happened to Dilma Rousseff in Brazil), by winning the March 30 elections in 2014. It is because of that we have now faced a coup two years later and we are talking about a murderous structure that has resorted to bombing Parliament, the presidential palace, the Special Forces Base and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) campus as well as conducting attacks on civilians with DShK’s from the air and tanks and rifles on the ground.

A telegraph that was published on Wikileaks and wired by the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul in August 2005 describes Gülen as follows: “Deep and widespread doubts remain, however, about his (Gülen) movement’s ultimate intentions. We have anecdotal evidence of the pressure that the various circles of his movement put on people they have drawn in… These facts, when coupled with the Gülenists’ penetration of state institutions, hint that a much harder line, a sense of world-wide Islamist proselytizing mission, lies just under the surface.”

If the U.S. wants to see it, there is evidence about the Gülenist structure’s plans and existence both in Turkey and the U.S. itself. Therefore, our “strategic partner” must acknowledge the right of our claims in this issue and give the ringleader of this structure, which it knows very well, to its ally. Otherwise, obviously, relations will be damaged.

* Hilal Kaplan is a Turkish columnist. She writes for Daily Sabah Turkish newspaper.

(Published in Daily Sabah, on July 22, 2016)