What happened to Fethullah Gülen in the military coup of 1970?
On the March 12, 1970 military coup, a number of prominent Muslims in Izmir, who had supported Kestanepazari Hall and associated activities for the region's youth, were arrested.
On May 1, Fethullah Gülen too was arrested and he was held for six months without charge until his release on November 9. Later, all the others associated with the hall were also released, also without charge.
When asked later to explain these arrests, the authorities said that they had arrested so many leftists that they felt they needed to arrest some prominent Muslims in order to avoid being accused of unfairness. They released Fethullah Gülen on the condition that he gave no more public lectures.
In 1971, Fethullah Gülen left his post and Kestanepazari Hall but retained his status as a state-authorized preacher. He began setting up more study rooms and boarding-halls in the Aegean region: the funding for these came from local people. It is at this point that a particular group of about one hundred people began to be visible as a service group, that is, a group gathered around Gülen’s understanding of service to the community and positive action.
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