The Gülen Movement, which originated in Turkey, has grown from a small religious group to a community, from a community to a movement, from a movement to a global organization. How did this happen?

Fethullah Gülen

The Gülen Movement, which originated in Turkey, has grown from a small religious group to a community, from a community to a movement, from a movement to a global organization. How did this happen? What are the characteristics of the participants behind this who transformed the spiritual inspiration “from virtual to actual”?

In reply to this question, Fethullah Gülen begins with the following analysis regarding the state of affairs in Turkey:

The economic situation of Turkey is not very good. A small minority maybe living well; they are milking the country; they are eating and drinking, but 80 percent is middle class, poor people. The small and medium sized enterprises, Anatolian Tigers, whatever you call them, are trying to open up to the world nowadays and this huge load and difficulty are on their shoulders. Sometimes I watch them with amazement, and my eyes are filled with tears; I say to myself: They cannot find anything to eat, but all businessmen, traders, industrialists, investors are going somewhere. Later, they send a courier asking; “Please, can you find and send several teachers to us?” Let us open up a school here. One looks at another, that one looks yet another so on and on. Maybe there will be a time in the future, no place will be left that they did not establish a school, a cultural center, a language course where they teach Turkish. They will search for ways and means to teach our language, culture, and national values that we inherited from our history, in one sense, our richness and wealth reflecting 4000 years of history, in a sense acquired a different kind of its depth through Islam, and our religious values.

Therefore, they will no longer give in to the conduct of an oligarchic minority, who so far did not even like and approve its own people, who in the caste system they built, look down on their people, the masses, 80, 90 percent of them as if they were lowly creatures.[1]

Turkey has a problem with a small oligarchic minority, who do not approve of the majority of the people because of their different attributes and who constantly try to make them resemble themselves, sometimes transgressing the law, regulations, democracy, and the republic. According to Fethullah Gülen, this oligarchic understanding of administration “… should not extinguish that passion, that excitement in the Anatolian people, should not deflate the hopes. This yoke, God willing should be carried to the target with the load as it was received at the outset.”[2]

In the place of oligarchic and repressive mentality, which has proved to be quite detrimental for the will of the people, Fethullah Gülen proposes a democratic system in which freedom and basic rights will predominate.

He expresses this desire with a metaphor of a dream, just as the American Civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King once did. He states that he is seeing a dream of a Turkey which is democratic, developed, having a high esteem throughout the world, and influential in world affairs.

According to Freud the dreams are the reflection of the unconscious in the outside world. If one does not even see the dream of a thing, if did not see one until today, it would mean he has no relationship to that thing.[3]

As for the question whether the movement shares this dream or not:

If you say, “Did you have any dream regarding the Turkish Nation’s leap forward, followed by taking its deserved place in the balance of power among the nations of the world?” thousands of our friends would raise their hands. These friends of mine are sharing the same sentiment and the same thoughts with me.[4]

[1] “Bu Hareket Devlete Alternatif mi?” (Is this movement an alternative of the state?),
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.

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