What is Fethullah Gülen's relationship with the schools established in Turkey and abroad?
There is not a single school in the records of the National Education Ministry of Turkey or anywhere else in the world which is registered in the name of Fethullah Gülen; they are all registered in the names of foundations.
In Turkey the Ministry of Education carries out the necessary checks in the schools and the hostels in partnership with local authorities. In other countries the schools are all inspected and monitored by the relevant authorities.
When doubts were raised about the effects of the Gülen-inspired schools in Turkey, authorities, scholars and ministers replied that there was no problem in them. Gülen promised that if anyone could should show that the schools were teaching anything opposed to modern Turkish and democratic values, he would immediately advise people to close them. Furthermore, he said that if the Turkish State and authorities would give guarantees on covering the expenses of continuing the education and on keeping the standard of education at those schools at least as high as it is, he would ask that the schools be handed over to the State.
Because of its brevity, outsiders tend to use “Gülen schools” rather than “Gülen-inspired schools.” The shorter term seems to imply some sort of central control of activities and even an ideology, while the second makes it clearer that there is no centralization in the movement. In fact, as yet there is no consensus among writers on what to call the Gülen-inspired institutions. However, if the term “Gülen schools” is equated with, for example, Montessori schools (where a particular training and qualifications are required for personnel and a specific methodology is used), it is misleading.
Gülen Movement participants have their own perspectives on terms used for the movement and the social movement organizations (SMOs) participants have set up. However, many outsiders seem oblivious to these perspectives or choose to ignore them. The use of terms like "Gülen schools" can arise from ignorance or from attempts to spread disinformation.
Gülen Movement participants tend to use the Turkish term hizmet (volunteer services) for the projects and services they provide as a whole. This could be a solution for the inconsistency in naming the Gülen Movement and in clarifying the identity of its services and institutions for outside observers.
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