Is the Gülen Movement’s contribution to society and democracy recognized by all social actors in Turkey?

Its contribution is recognized by most, but not all social actors in Turkey.

A particular emphasis of the approach and actions of the Gülen Movement is being in the service of the common good, not in the service of a private cause. The Gülen Movement affirms its belonging to the shared culture of the society and its acceptance of the political and cultural diversity of Turkey. It does not deny others’ identities. It refuses adversarial discourse and contentious action, whether lawful or unlawful. In return, it is widely acknowledged as living fruitfully in and contributing to secular and religiously plural democracies.

Nevertheless, the protectionist elite in Turkey does not recognize the Gülen Movement except as “the adversary.” This hostile reaction reduces the potential for positive, fruitful interactions; it indicates a failure of political (as well as moral) imagination, and a readiness to conceive difference only in terms of conflict. The harm in this attitude lies in the tendency of conflict – whether it concerns material or symbolic resources – to transgress the system’s shared “rules of engagement.”

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