Political actors are classified as interest groups and defined in relation to the government or other politically motivated or oriented entities in a political system, whereas the relevance and interests of social movements extend well beyond those areas to other institutional spheres and authorities. Political actors engage in action for reform, inclusion in and redefinition of the political rules, rights and boundaries of political systems; they therefore interact with political authorities and negotiate or engage in exchanges with them. They strive to influence political decision-making through institutional and sometimes partly non-institutional means.
By contrast, non-political actors address issues in a strictly cultural form or cultural terms, and bring issues forward into the public sphere. They choose a common ground on which many people can work together. They name and frame issues in a way that people can understand in the public sphere and then let them be processed through political means and actors.
According to these definitions, Hizmet falls into the category of cultural or social actor rather than political actor. Although political action is legal, legitimate and indispensable for democracy, the Gülen Movement avoids formal politics, and acts at its own specific level within the limits to which it is entitled by law, aiming at well-defined, concrete, and unifying goals and services.