Is the Gülen Movement trying to change the rules of the political system?

The activities of the Gülen Movement take place within the confines and rules of the political system as it is. They do not aim to maximize the advantages of the actor in political decisions. No matter how their worldview or services might empirically affect the political system, they do not threaten to disregard or infringe the rules of that system as given, nor do they transgress its institutional boundaries.

The services given by the Gülen Movement are not a contest among adversaries for control over the allocation of social production. They are not a struggle of imbalances of power among social positions. Rather, all the efforts of the Gülen Movement need to be analyzed using analytical categories other than political ones, for example, as collective social altruism.

Rather than advancing political ambitions, Fethullah Gülen’s objective is to foster an ethic that some social researchers have characterized as coming very close to Max Weber’s “worldly asceticism,” an activist pietism with a tendency toward the rationalization of social relationships. Researchers also attribute the protectionist groups’ suspicion about the Gülen Movement to the protectionist’s underlying power interests.

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