Why do some (in Turkey in particular) oppose the Gülen Movement?

Fethullah Gülen

For those who have exploited and usurped Turkey’s wealth and resources for years, the altruism of those raised among the Gülen Movement is a challenge to their way of thinking. They have found their logic upset. For they see that while they seek to siphon money and resources illegally from the state and people’s pockets, others have begun instead to construct alternate modes of behavior and generate alternative meanings. This offers a symbolic challenge to the more usual rationality of calculation, established bureaucratic routines, and means–end relationships. The challenge arises from the given-for-nothing nature of the “offering” and the directness of personal commitment. These two features demonstrate that sharing with others is not reducible to instrumental logic. In essence, the Gülen Movement reminds everyone of the limitations of a system’s power over people and events. It calls into question the System’s sway over us and invites us to assume greater responsibility for our choices and actions. In so doing, it becomes a vital component in the renewal of civil society and the reinforcement of social cohesion. For precisely those reasons there is counter-mobilization by vested interests.

The Gülen Movement was able to come through the crisis of the February 28 Process without resort to negativity, to any counter-action or conflictual or coercive means. The opposition from certain ideological interest groups within the power establishment in Turkey is directed towards any collective actor that is perceived to endanger their schemes and vested interests; however, there are particular reasons why those vested interests made the Gülen Movement a major focus of their counter-mobilizing efforts.