Is the Gülen Movement conflictual? Does it breach any limits or laws?

The actors in a conflict have a shared field of action, a common reference system, something at stake between them that both groups refer to implicitly or explicitly. The adversaries enter into strife because of antagonistic definitions of the objectives, relations, and means of social production at issue between them. The conflict manifests as a clash over control and allocation of resources that are deemed crucial by the concerned parties.

However, the Gülen Movement is not an expression of a conflict. Participants do not break the limits of the system of social relationships in which their service project or efforts are located. They do not infringe the rules of the game, and they are always willing to negotiate about the objectives of institutions or service projects that they have set up or are running. The Gülen Movement does not contest the legitimacy of power or of the system it has emerged. Its collective action is not class-based, politically oriented, contentious or adversarial. It does not have narrow material objectives.

The service of the Gülen Movement has never combined with or been “infiltrated” by marginal and deviant groups present in the societies where the institutions set up by participants are located. The educational services have never dissolved into mere claimant behavior or violent rupture, nor lost the capacity to tackle educational issues for the common good.

The Gülen Movement works to resolve ignorance, backwardness, disunity, unbelief, injustice and deviations. So it does not concern itself with offering any political challenge to the legitimacy of power or to the current deployment of social resources. So the Gülen Movement cannot be defined as a conflictual or confrontational reaction.

However, Gülen and the Movement do address and try to deal with problems or crises – problems such as the attempted politicization of religion, societal and sectarian tensions and exploitation thereof to keep Turkey off-balance. The Gülen Movement also opposes undesirable activities such as fundamentalism, dogmatism and coercion, but participants do not try to control specific individuals or groups or political parties or the state.

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