When I was invited to the Ramadan dinner given by the Journalists' and Writers' Foundation, like Fehmi Koru I thought it would be for 50 or 60 people. However, from the moment I entered the Polat Renaissance Hotel, it was clear that, in regard to those attending and the arrangements, this type of dinner had not been seen before in Turkey.
A small number of women had been invited to this religious community dinner. Some were strikingly dressed, while others were covered. At the request of Hodjaefendi, Professor Nur Vergin and journalist Nuriye Akman gave short speeches. Fethullah Hodja called Nur Vergin to his table from her seat at a table of journalists. Just as this led to an increased attack against Fethullah Hodja in Cuma's latest issue, it also was perceived as a challenge to Islamic groups that don't share his views on women.
Professor Vergin's call for others to "take in your new co-religionist" led to journalists making a "neo-Muslim" joke among themselves.
Yalim Erez's attendance at the dinner was interpreted as Tansu Hanim's attendance.
The evening's surprise began after dinner, when Zaman owner Alaaddin Kaya invited journalists, protocol guests, and Fethullah Hodja to drink tea in a small room. The young reporter from Channel 6, entering the private tea meeting after great efforts and asking Fethullah Hodja whether he had ever celebrated Valentine's Day created an unusual atmosphere.
But regardless of how much he perspired and rubbed his legs together under the table in embarrassment, he patiently explained that he was in favor of every kind of love, although he had never celebrated such a day.
In regard to his giving special interviews to the media after many years, Fethullah Gülen commented: "Those who thought I was important understood that even if I were a flame, I would be able to burn only a small place, that I wasn't very important, and that they had gotten excited for no reason."