Claims and Answers
Claim-1: Fethullah Gülen is an "irticaci" (reactionary or fundamentalist).
Answer: The word irtica means returning to the past or carrying the past to the present. I'm a person who's taken eternity as a goal, not only tomorrow. Also I'm thinking about our country's future and trying to do what I can about it. Until now I've never had anything to do with taking my country backwards in any of my writings, spoken words or activities. If there is, let them show it. But I guess no one can label belief in God, worship, moral values and purporting matters unlimited by time as irtica.
Claim-2: Because Fethullah Gülen is a reactionary, like other reactionaries he makes Alawi-Sunni and Muslim-atheist polemics. His saying, "I'm Alawi," is just a trick.
Answer: Actually those making the Alawi-Sunni and Muslim-atheist polemics in Turkey are the ones accusing Muslims of doing it and the ones who hope to profit from it. Our people know very well who for years has made a call for tolerance and dialogue based on the principles of all segments of society accepting one another as they are and showing respect for all beliefs, ideas and lifestyles, and who has stirred up different factions in society for their own self-interests. Coming to my saying "I'm Alawi": every Muslim loves Ali and the Prophet's family. Especially the Turkish Muslim people's love for the Prophet's family is greater than any other kind of love. If being Alawi means loving and following AM and the Prophet's family, my saying "there can't be anyone more Alawi than me," would not be an exaggeration or false claim. But, if one thing is meant by the name Alawi and something else in its application, then, first this matter has to be made clear.
Claim-3: "Irtica" is divisionary, tricky, incognizant of the law, antidemocratic and non-patriotic. Since Fethullah Gülen is a part of it, he's the same.
Answer: Generally in Turkey the most law-respecting, the most patriotic-minded in the sense of being devoted to national values, in fact, the most respectful of democracy are people of faith. Actually because they've divided this nation's people with unfounded and unproven imputations, those who make these claims are worthy to be called tricksters, anti-democratic, incognizant of the law and unpatriotic.
Claim-4: Fethullah Gülen is a "Nurcu" (follower of Said Nursi).
Answer: The word Nurcu, although it was used a little by Bediuzzaman Said Nursî, is basically used by his antagonists to belittle the Nursî's movement and his followers and to be able to present it as a heterodox sect. In life, everyone benefits from, in fact, is influenced by, many other people, writers, poets and scholars. In my life I have read many historians and writers from the East and West, and I've benefited from them. Bediuzzaman Said Nursî is only one of these. I never saw him. On the other hand, I've never used suffixes like -ci, -cu (meaningist) that refer to a particular group. My only goal has been to live as a believer and to surrender my spirit to God as a believer.
Claim-5: Fethullah Gülen is the leader of the "Yazici Nurcus"-the group who multiply the works of Said Nursi by writing them in Ottoman alphabet.
Answer: I indicated that I have no connection with any -ci, cu. I've never used this type of words associated with separatism and I've always carefully avoided it. My whole life is witness to the fact that I have no close relationship to those who are called "yaz/o Nurcus" by some. If they know these people, they can ask them.
Claim-6: Fethullah Gülen is among the "Nurcus" that supported the former "Milli Selamet Party", (National Salvation Party, which is the second party established by Erbakan) and he wants an Iranian type of regime in Turkey.
Answer: Everyone knows that I have nothing to do with the political activities and especially the political parties such as Milli Nizam (National Order Party), Milli Selamet Party or Refah Party. As for the claim that I'm a supporter of the Iranian regime, it is an unequaled example of turning the truth upside down.
Claim-7: Fethullah Gülen decided to begin a movement of "huruc" (huruc harekât!) in Izmir in April, 1980, and he said that for this purpose dormitory buildings should be opened, books and magazines should be published and teachers should be trained.
Answer: "Huruc" means a launching and going out, but the meaning of "huruc harekâti" should be asked to those who made this up in their imagination. From where to where was this movement to take place? On which day in April and in which building in which neighborhood in Izmir was this decision made and where did the claimed talk take place? Also, what's the relationship between this movement and the opening of student dormitories or the publishing of books and magazines? Furthermore, just as the opening of private student dormitories began much earlier than this date, the Sizinti magazine for which I write began its publishing one year before that time.
Claim-8: Fethullah Gülen's past gives the anxiety that in the future he might activate his community of followers against the Turkish Republic.
Answer: In the past, which of my actions, words or writings caused such anxiety? I'm 60 years old, and I've been among the people for the last 45 years. I have about 30 published books, hundreds of articles, poems, a lot more than a thousand sermons and I've participated in many conferences. At the same time, there has never been a court decision against me. Which mercy, which conscience, which logic and which legal understanding can explain this kind of judgment?
Claim-9: Fethullah Gülen was arrested in 1971 by the Izmir Martial Law Court and sentenced because of his "Nurcu" activities.
Answer: Martial law is an extraordinary kind of rule and martial courts are extraordinary courts. The reason why I was arrested after the 1971 coup was explained by the prosecutor for the Izmir Martial Law court as, "We arrested and punished many people from the left. What's the matter with our taking in a few people like you in order to balance the situation?" Later the decision made by the lower court was abrogated by the Supreme Military Court, and the case, which was being heard again, was dropped in view of a general amnesty that was given at that time. In this situation, according to the basic principle of law that "a person is innocent until proven guilty," it's obvious that there can be no talk of any conviction. As was mentioned above, for at least 40 of my 60 years of life, I've been under close scrutiny and in spite of dozens of imputations, slanders, accusations and false publications, there have never been any court decisions against me in the past. If there are worries that a person will act in the future exactly opposite to what he did in the past, then there's no one in the world about whose future acts there will be no doubt. Moreover, just as those who have made these imputations against me were involved in many activities against the government in the past and were convicted by the courts, even now their situation is suspect.
Claim-10: While Fethullah Gülen was working at the Izmir Kestanepazari Qur'anic school, his job was terminated because he was involved in "Nurcu" activities.
Answer: This is nothing but a false accusation. I wasn't fired; I resigned. The reason for my resignation was that I didn't approve of the changes made in my administrative board.
Claim-11: In 1970 in Izmir Fethullah Gülen prepared the "Nurcu" activities program and organized teaching activities regarding this matter.
Answer: This is a totally imaginary accusation. Shouldn't those who make this claim put forth their evidence?
Claim-12: In 1972 Fethullah Gülen met with "Nurcu" leaders in Erzurum. In 1982 he met with "Nurcu" leaders in Konya.
Answer: A year is a very long time for news or collecting information. Thus, such ridiculous claims that carry no date, place or participants and that have no value as intelligence can be made regarding everyone. And who were these "Nurcu" leaders? Moreover, after the discharge in 1972, I went to my homeland to visit my family in Erzurum where I hadn't been in years. I don't remember ever going to Konya in 1982.
Claim-13: Fethullah Gülen's companions say that he took over activities by means of a written injunction from Said Nursî. They see him as the "Pole" of the time which means the highest person in Islam. They are spreading the claim that Fethullah Gülen saw the Prophet in his dream and the Prophet said to him, "The Soviet Union collapsed; open schools there." They even say that, disappearing on Thursday evenings, Fethullah Gülen travels to the world of spirits and has conversations there.
Answer: These are all made-up on purpose and have no value beyond being imaginary claims. Everyone knows that I consider myself to be the least of the Muslims.
Claim-14: Fethullah Gülen may have been influenced by Ghandi's struggle.
Answer: Ghandi struggled against the British in a country that was under occupation. I wonder, is Turkey under foreign occupation? Also, until now, whom have I called to passive re sistance against the administration or boycott of certain products like Ghandi did? If I have to be influenced by someone, there is the Qur'an in our hands, the sunna of our Prophet and thousands of our great men in history who can always be an example to others.
Claim-15: To reach his goal Fethullah Gülen is following a three-step plan. The first step is to reach individuals, and the second step necessitates a mass invitation to join his community of followers. The third step is probably forcing people to enter the community of followers. At this time he appears to still be at the first step.
Answer: To begin with, isn't it necessary for those making this claim, if they have a sense of justice at all, to show at least half a line of proof for such a ridiculous charge? Secondly, I'm not aware that I have been following a way with several steps. Moreover, after 40 years I'm still at the same level. If the other steps take 40 years each, then we still have another century to go!
Claim-16: There's a possibility that Fethullah Gülen's group has entered the sphere of influence of foreign powers who want to use Islamists in Turkey.
Answer: If there is such a branch or movement as Islamism, I've never had any connection with them. I have never had any connection with any foreign power or services. Anyone can enter the sphere of influence of foreign powers, but those who fall in this trap usually are people who are running after riches, power and other worldly interests. Everyone with a conscience knows very well that I've never had or will have any interest in such common things.
Claim-17: Because he sees it contrary to Islam, Fethullah Gülen doesn't wear a tie, and he's giving a certain message by this.
Answer: I have said many times, even from the pulpit, that the color and shape of clothing does not have any important relationship to being Muslim. Just as I have never seen any kind of clothing as a symbol of Islam, I have never thought that a tie could be a symbol or a vehicle for a message. According to this claim, I guess a tie has a very important function. But what kind of message is this? People who have established institutions everywhere due to my advice and encouragement apparently don't understand the message. Or if they really understand it, they don't implement it because they almost all wear ties! Also, I have worn a tie. But wearing or not wearing a tie, wearing a shirt or sweater, dressing casually or formally is a matter of individual choice, which can be observed for everyone. Truly, I'm having difficulty in understanding the ridiculousness of reading a meaning into wearing or not wearing a tie and then judging people because of it!
Claim-18: Companions of Fethullah Gülen call the Republic the order the unbelievers".
Answer: Such a crude expression would not come out of the mouth of anyone from the Turkish nation who listens to my suggestions and loves and respects me. Making such a slander regarding people who believe in a religion that declared consultation to be one of its most important principles, that accepted consensus or general agreement (ijma1) as an infallible legal source alongside the Qur'an and sunna, and that always gave preference to the vote of the majority, is either the result of malice or ignorance. In addition, if my talks and writings regarding the good qualities of the Republic were to be collected, they'd make a book.
Claim-19: There are close to 1000 reactionary ("irticaci") schools of dervish orders in Turkey. About 50 of them are science high schools. In addition, around 5000 private places of instruction and courses are operated by the dervish orders. Here disciples of the "Altin Nesil" (Golden Generation) dervish order are trained.
Answer: Everything is mixed up in this claim and, obviously in order to influence some segment, false figures were rounded off. Secondly, which schools are reactionary and which aren't? What is this charge based on? Thirdly, on the one hand, they say they differentiate religious fanatics and religious people and that they have no objection to religion. But, on the other hand, it can be seen that everyone who prays, goes to mosque or even inwardly respects religion, that is every activity of our Muslim people, is stamped as "irticaa" (reactionary) or "tarikata" (related to the dervish orders). Here I want to say only one thing. There may be some dervish orders in Turkey active in training and reforming the ego. I don't know whether or not until now they've taken any action against the state and regime. But the number of members, and not the number of institutions they established, would be equal to the above figures. Fourthly, a poet said regarding our Prophet, "Muhammad was a human being, but he wasn't like every human being. He was a ruby among rocks." One hadith says, "humans are like mineral ores (that need refining)." I have always dreamed of a generation with minds enlightened by positive science, with hearts purified by faith, who would be an example of virtue and who would burn with the desire to serve their nation and humanity, and who would live, not for themselves, but for others. Inspired by the verse and hadith I just mentioned, I called them the "Altin Nesil" (Golden Generation). I described the characteristics of this generation twenty-two years ago in conferences I gave in some cities. This is an expression that I coined and used. But without making any distinctions it's being used in the accusations for all the activities done by our Muslim people. This strange situation shows how well things are or are not understood.
Claim-20: Fethullah Gülen is a member of a religious order.
Answer: I have stated innumerable times that I'm not a member of a religious order. As a religion, Islam naturally emphasizes the spiritual realm. It takes the training of the ego as a basic principle. Asceticism, piety, kindness and sincerity are essential to it. In the history of Islam the discipline that dwelt most on these matters was Sufism. Opposing this would be opposing the essence of Islam. The religious orders are institutions that appeared in the name of representing Sufism six centuries after our Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings. They have their own rules and structures. Just as I never joined a Sufi order, I have never had any relationship with one.
Claim-21: There is an initiative ceremony for Fethullah Gülen's religious order.
Answer: First of all there's no order, let alone a ceremony. Can a single person be shown who has heard of a ceremony as it's claimed to exist or who's seen such a ceremony? If they can't show anyone, then isn't it my right to declare that those who made this claim are the greatest of slanderers?
Claim-22: There are 90-182 private schools, 300-460 private institutions preparing high school graduates for university exams, 240 dormitories which can house 25,000 students or, according to some figures, 500 dormitories. All of these belong to the Sufi order of Fethullah Gülen.
Answer: The contradictions in numbers are enough to show that this was all concocted. It's obvious that if someone prays, fasts, has a wife or daughter who covers her head, or if a woman covers her head, they're liable for the accusation of being a reactionary or a Sufi. If a person knows Fethullah Gülen, or if he is sympathetic with the activities that he encourages, or if he's listened to at least one of Fethullah Gülen's sermons, then again he stands ready to be accused of being a follower of Fethullah Gülen or a member of his religious order. I don't think that at any time or place in the world have people been labeled so simply or so boorishly as this. If they traveled throughout Turkey, I wonder how many dormitories they would find that could hold more than 1000 students. Is there even one? Two-hundred and forty dormitories with a capacity of 25,000 students! The exaggeration in the figures is a matter that should be dwelt upon in relation to the infirmity of the minds of those making these claims. Moreover, why is opening schools and dormitories for students within the framework of the law and operating them in a manner open to inspection being shown like this as an action to be feared? Until now besides knowledge, morality, good-manners, love for their country and nation and the desire to serve others, the whole of mankind, what has been given to the students in these schools and dormitories that we are being charged with such exaggerations and baseless suspicions?
Claim-23: Fethullah Gülen's purpose in opening schools is to enter, by means of the pen, places that the Ottomans entered by means of the sword.
Answer: The idea of entering places the Ottomans entered was made up to lay a foundation for the charge that I long for the Ottoman order. In a number of interviews I said that I hung a world map in my room and this was published in several newspapers. The world has become smaller, and everyone can go everywhere. Moreover, the locations of schools that were opened outside Turkey have nothing to do with the Ottomans like Siberia, Moscow, England, Denmark, Central and South-eastern Asian countries, some African countries. I've said again and again that I only encouraged the opening of these schools, that I don't know most of them and what my purpose was in encouraging their being opened. Moreover, why should anyone belonging to the Turkish nation be frightened by his nation expressing itself by the pen in various places throughout the world?
Claim-24: Fethullah Gülen is developing an alternative to the current educational system by means of the education organization that he set up.
Answer: According to what I've learned from the Ministry of Education, the educational institutions that are attributed to me were established and are operating within the framework of existing laws. The program and curriculum that are used in similar official educational institutions are also used in these schools. It couldn't be any other way.
Claim-25: Students in Fethullah Gülen's schools are being given reactionary education. Even if there is no direct religious training, religion and political Islam are being inculcated by behavior.
Answer: The schools under consideration are constantly under inspection. From the time of opening of the schools abroad until now, in some cases 7-8 years, they have been controlled and inspected by the intelligence agencies in those countries and by the educational ministries. Moreover, these countries are at least as sensitive about and alert to reactionary activities as Turkey is. Also, people in Turkey from every social strata went to see these schools, and many journalists who visited them wrote about them for days. Up until now has a single piece of evidence of reactionary activity been found in any school? Leaving the inspections aside, there are students from every segment of society in these schools. If there have been no complaints from students and their families, then how can reactionary education be mentioned regarding these institutions?
Coming to the claim that religion is being inculcated by behavior, there are universal moral criteria and forms of behavior demanded by education. Behaving well towards the students, having a smiling face, respecting elders, showing affection to the young, helping others in every kind of work, being generous and forgiving-why should behaving within a framework of moral criteria like these be considered as religious education? Should there be another kind of behavior and should immorality be encouraged? We have never had a cause of political Islam. To the contrary, the term "Turkish Muslimness or being a Muslim in Turkey" I use has been described as cultural Islam by experts on the subject.
Claim-26: By means of the schools he's opened abroad, Fethullah Gülen is aiming to benefit his followers and the movement and get external support for his endeavors to establish a Shari'a state.
Answer: People in pursuit of material gains could probably find more pleasant fields of work than establishing schools outside the country with great sacrifice. The fact that the second part of this claim is completely false and without any basis is clearly shown by the fact that, although these countries are no less sensitive to reactionary activities than is Turkey, not a single activity has been found along these lines until now. The purpose of opening the schools has been explained numerous times in published interviews with me and many people have written about it.
Two Presidents of our country, premiers, ministers, members of parliament, scholars, high ranking retired officers, journalists and thousands of others from every view and level have gone and seen these schools and returned. There has been no complaint of the kind referred to from the countries where the schools are or from those who have gone to see the schools; to the contrary, without exception they mention it with praise. Under these circumstances I have difficulty in understanding the real aim of those who are throwing forth these claims from behind their desks. I don't see any connection between patriotism and these unfounded and hostile feelings regarding these schools which are obviously beneficial to our country in every way.
Claim-27: When the junior high level of the Imam-Hatip schools were closed, greater interest was shown by the reactionary segment to Fethullah Gülen's schools.
Answer: I wonder whether any statistics has been made to display that a greater interest is shown to the schools attributed to me and that this interest comes from the segment of society as is claimed? A little research on this matter would suffice to show, I think, that this claim is irrelevant.
Claim-28: Fethullah Gülen's schools are not co-educational. This shows they're not contemporary.
Answer: I'm tired of saying that I don't have any schools. If a serious educator had said that coeducation is a symbol or indication of contemporary education, then I might deem this claim worthy of attention. I think that this kind of accusation is made in the name of something other than education. If those who are making these claims really love this country, instead of troubling themselves with these schools that use the Ministry of Education's program and curriculum and have proven themselves both inside and outside of Turkey, why don't they try and make some contribution to the reform of the Turkish national education system. Then there wouldn't be any point in the people's paying a lot of money to private schools. If they do this and are successful, I'll be one of the happiest about it.
Claim-29: In Fethullah Gülen's schools outside of Turkey alone there is capital of 350 trillion TL in circulation. How is this big a capital met?
Answer: To begin with, it's not apparent what this is based on. They make such an account that just as they include the school building and every student's costs, they give every teacher a salary of 1500 dollars. As far as I know, most of the school buildings are provided by the countries themselves. Secondly, the school furnishings were obtained at a time when a professor's salary in those countries was 30-40 dollars. Thirdly, a fee is paid by the students in most of these schools. Fourthly, as the journalists who visited these schools wrote, the teachers make a great sacrifice by working for 400-500 dollars. These facts will reduce the above-mentioned figures several hundred times. In addition, the means of financing these schools has been written and talked about time and time again. The fact that there is no external support, and that even if it was offered, it wasn't accepted and won't be accepted was put into official reports. In spite of this, those who persist with these claims are either evil-minded or they think that everyone is stingy, won't give a penny to help their nation or country and try to live off others and the government's wealth. Whereas, this nation spent everything in its hand for the War of Independence and is willing to give everything again for works they believe will benefit this country. Thanks to God, in spite of everything this characteristic was not lost. They can spend whatever they have for the benefit those fortune-seekers who are making these claims sitting behind their desks more intelligent, careful and observant than the foreigners are? Or do they have special tools to read people's hearts?
Claim-36: Fethullah Gülen's influencing government leaders by drawing pictures of tolerance and peace is a great danger.
Answer: Either they are slaves to the thought patterns and desires in their own minds or they are in love with themselves because they don't see any actions as positive except their own. Sixty million people live in this country. The whole world knows what's going on in a country. Only those who don't recognize anyone's right to live but their own and who have the philosophy, "whatever is needed for the country, we must do it," would oppose tolerance and peace- oriented activities. In addition, how do they want me to act? Being a fundamentalist is dangerous; being tolerant and peace-loving is more dangerous. I wish they were kind enough to explain what way of acting is not dangerous so that I could act in that way!
Claim-37: By distributing awards for reconciliation, Fethullah Gülen is trying to show himself to be above the government.
Answer: I have repeated many times that I'm a simple man from amongst the people and that the biggest honor for me is to be able to serve my nation, my country and all mankind. In order to show my sincerity, I can't take out my heart and show it to those men of malice and hidden intentions! Even if I could, those who don't want to believe would find another excuse. Moreover, many organizations in Turkey and the world give out awards. When they don't make that claim against anyone else, why do they make it for those who, by encouraging tolerance and reconciliation, are trying to stop the fractionalism that has taken place in Turkey as a result of years of fighting, anarchy, terror, and economic imbalance and avoid even more serious fractionalism that is being attempted to be realized through ethnic and religious schisms like the Alawi-Sunni and Kurd-Turk issues. Or are those making these imputations circles who are hoping for some gain from the fragmentation of our country?
Claim-38: By means of his activities, Fethullah Gülen is trying to take over the government from the roots up.
Answer: Just as I have no interest in taking over the government or surrounding it from the bottom up, I have no ambition in these matters either. Just as for those who claim I'm trying to establish a theocratic government, if they can put forth one piece of proof, I'm ready to leave this country I love and give up serving to my country and nation, which has been the goal of my life. But they should know that if they make these accusations without any evidence, then they'll be mentioned as history's greatest slanderers.
Claim-39: By means of his activities, Fethullah Gülen is trying to take over the government from the top.
Answer: In the previous claim "from the roots up" was mentioned; here it's claimed that there's an effort to take over the government from the top. My answer will not be different from my response to the accusation above. Only I want to add this: I'm a person who has been writing, speaking and trying to do what I can for the past 40 years. If I had such an intention and worked towards that, wouldn't a single piece of evidence have been found until now? Wouldn't I have exposed myself with a few words or a few sentences or actions? Other than a few claims based on distortion and evil-intended interpretation and quotation, has any true and concrete proof been forthcoming? It's futile and useless to trouble oneself with someone against whom there is not a single piece of evidence for such claims.
Claim-40: Even though Fethullah Gülen sees politics as the only way to get power and take over the government, because conditions are not amenable now, he's not following such a path.
Answer: If this were a possibility, at least once in my 60 years of life I would have attempted to enter politics. From now on, I'm not even going to allow the thought of serving my country through politics to occur to my mind, let alone trying to take over the government. There are many witnesses to my turning away a couple of friends who wanted to become members of parliament for the sake of serving the country through politics.
Claim-41: Fethullah Gülen says that because the Prophet didn't talk about establishing a state when he was sherif (governor) of Mecca, then they should not mention it either in the present circumstances. But in essence the "I'la-yi kelimetullah" (exaltation of God's Word) requires that Islam be spread over the whole world, that the laws of the Qur'an, which are like the constitution, should govern both science and social life and finally, with the concept of umma (community), a system like the caliphate or sultanate, with its capital at Mekka and which would bind all Muslims in the world, should be established.
Answer: I have never read in any place that our Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, was sherif of Mecca. Just as the office of sherif of Mecca is a position that appeared much later on, our Prophet didn't have any kind of function like that. I'la-yi kelimetullah means to raise God's Word. God's Word is Tawhid-the truth expressed in "la ilahe ill'Allah", that is, There is no god but God. Polytheism or association partners with God, and denial are the opposite of this. For this reason, anyone who opposes this has nothing to do with Islam. Just as it's the duty of every Muslim to inform others of the truths of faith, it's my duty as well. No one should be bothered by this. Informing or declaring the truths of faith is one thing; forcing someone to accept is another. Our duty is to inform, explain and declare. Force is contrary to religion.
Regarding the claim about a Mekka-centered caliphate, if I had such a purpose, wouldn't it be better for me to be in Mecca? Couldn't I advocate this better there? In 1986 on my return from the hajj (pilgrimage) when a restriction was placed on my entering the country, I entered by passing with great difficulty through a mined field full of thorns, and later I turned myself in to the State Security Court in Izmir. There was absolutely no obstacle to my staying in Arabia. Moreover, the caliphate and sultanate are forms of government that remained in the past, and there's no rule that says Islam supports this kind of administrative order. I'm a person who believes in the adage, "the old is impossible; either the new or annihilation".
Claim-42: Fethullah Gülen's group is in a very disciplined organization. Fethullah Gülen is at the top of this organization as the world imam. After him come the Far East Imam, the European Imam, and the American Imam. There's a consulting group. They follow with ranks like city imam, district imam and house imam. There is a strict hierarchy.
Answer: Because the Eid (religious festival) prayer is incumbent and can only be performed by forming a congregation, Muslims come together on their own to pray in the mosque. The Friday prayer is mandatory and again because it can only be performed in congregation, Muslims come together on their own in the mosque to perform this prayer. Those who are able to and want to go to Hajj, without any organization or compulsion, go to Hajj and millions of Muslims come together there. Christians go to church on Sunday, and Jews come together at the synagogue for worship. Like this, what could be more natural than for those who see it appropriate to serve the country in similar ways, to make this service and help each other on this matter? Those who do not want to understand this apparent reality, who think the dictatorship of the proletariat of which they dream could be achieved through a schematic organization, look for the same sort of organization in the works that I'm only encouraging, and so they make them up. They fall into the trap of thinking that everyone is like them, and they look at everything through the lens of their own spirits or through their own mirrors. I know nothing about the existence of the type of organization and imam that they're claiming. Seeing the love and respect that derive from the people's belief, history, character and good family training based on strong traditional and religious pillars as hierarchy and discipline can only be the problem of those who see them like that.
Claim-43: By means of the type of organization mentioned, Fethullah Gülen has formed a group that is an alternative to the government organization.
Answer: This type of organization is a figment of the imagination. Many criticize me for excessive loyalty to the state. An alternative organization to the current government means dissension and confusion. Everyone knows that I'm the one who most defends stability and most avoids confusion and dissension.
Claim-44: Fethullah Gülen is actually an Arab Islamist.
Answer: I've indicated that I have nothing to do with "ists". In this respect, I've never had anything to do with Islamists. Outside of religion's unchangeable basic principles, matters that are open to interpretation can be shaped by historical, economic, and social conditions. Also what is called 'urf (things of common usage) that includes tradition and customs of a country or nation, which religion takes into consideration, and religion plays an important role in forming a nation's unique culture. In this framework, I was the first to use the term "Turkish Muslim-ness or being a Muslim in Turkey". Many others see me as a supporter of Turkish nationalism. In view of this, I don't understand how I can be described as an Arab Islamist.
Fethullah Gülen's meeting with religious leaders like the Pope shows he's racing to be a world Muslim leader.
Answer: Those who make this claim see Turkish Muslimness, in fact Islam, as the same thing as Iranian Sufism. There are no institutions or ranks of religious men in Islamic leadership like there are in ShPism or in some other religions. Especially I have remained very far from any kind of leadership or desire for rank.
Claim-46: Fethullah Gülen received an answer within one week to his request to see the Pope. The Head of Religious Affairs hasn't been able to receive an answer in three years. Just as Fethullah Gülen has belittled the Head of Religious Affairs by meeting with the Pope, it also carries a purpose of creating an alternative to the Office of Religious Affairs.
Answer: In any case, it is up to the Pope himself to whose request he is going to answer or not, and he should be asked about it. Secondly, a clash of civilizations, which is based on culture and religion, has been under public discussion and Turkey was mentioned as one of the central bases in this clash. During the last 3 or 4 years I have been in dialogue with representatives of other religions inside and outside of Turkey, even at the expense of receiving heavy accusations from many Muslim radical groups at times. I've been trying to explain that Islam is not a religion of fighting, violence and terror; to the contrary, it's based on principles of love, mercy, forgiveness and leniency. I've been trying to show that there are the same principles in the foundation of every religion and that leaving aside the historical fight among religions and starting a warm dialogue would make an important contribution towards realizing a better and more peaceful future for this world, which is tired of war and conflict. If the modest efforts I've made on this issue have caught the attention of some inside and outside of Turkey and opened the door to my meeting with the Pope, should I be accused of this? In a time when millions of dollars are being spent on foreign lobbies to publicize our country and find external support for our national issues, wouldn't it be more intelligent for our government to support such initiatives and try and get maximum benefit from them?
Regarding the other matter, while some belittle the Office of Religious Affairs and make various charges against them, I've never taken any action or spoken a single word against this institution of ours. To the contrary, I've always supported and respected it. A little earlier it was claimed that I'm after religious leadership. Whereas, I usually send those who come to me to ask about religious matters, thinking that I am knowledgeable enough to have a voice in them, to the High Council on Religious Affairs.
Claim-47: Fethullah Gülen emphasizes moderate and modern Islamism and acts like the leader of such a current. Whereas, many groups and individuals, especially the "Naqshibendis", previously did this.
Answer: I have never claimed to be a person in the vanguard, a leader or a guide on any subject. I've never had a thesis of moderate and modern Islamism either. These are nothing but the speculation and concoctions of people who know nothing about these matters. I'm trying to explain Islam from today's perspectives. If some people try and describe this according to the mental patterns in their own minds, that's their problem, not mine.
Claim-48: By saying that he appreciates Hasan al-Benna, the founder of the Muslim Brothers who encouraged violence to implement the Sharia, Fethullah Gülen is putting his real intention across. His apparent moderation is a deceit.
Answer: Knowing the late Hasan al-Benna and appreciating some of his ideas shouldn't be a crime. Forget about encouraging violence, he was raised completely on a foundation of Sufism and, as a teacher, he only explained Islam wherever he found the opportunity. Actually violence is a swamp, a disaster that enemies of Islam themselves use to blacken Islam's image and pull Islamic movements into. In Hasan al-Benna's time, the Muslim Brothers had nothing to do with politics and certainly nothing to do with violence. But whenever Hasan al-Benna was martyred by those enemies who couldn't drag him into violence and politics, only after that when people like Nasser infiltrated this movement did it become mixed up with politics and later violence. In view of this historical and obvious truth, those who charge me with deceit according to the patterns of slander and suspicion in their heads are either displaying their ignorance or making slander. Throughout my life I've always tried to appear as I am and be as I appear. I've never condescended to deceit. In addition, I didn't know that feeling sympathy for some ideas of someone means becoming identified with the system he wants or that people are only liked for their ideology or the system they defend!
Claim-49: Fethullah Gülen's view on "jihad" shows that his moderation is only an appearance. According to him, in order to make the imperialist world into a slave, it's necessary to make Islam more militant. For this reason, "jihad" is a sacred duty and those who make jihad and those who don't can't be the same. "Jihad"shouldn't be understood only as using a sword.
Answer: I guess those who make these kinds of slander don't understand what they read. My writings related to jihad are obvious. Just as there was no expression in any of them like, "in order to make the imperialist world into a slave, it's necessary to make Islam more militant", anyone who has the ability to understand can perceive how ridiculous such a statement is. Jihad is a sacred duty and the fact that those who make jihad and those who don't cannot be equal is an expression of the Qur'an. Jihad doesn't mean using a sword. It is the effort to reach the point of being a perfected human being. For this reason, it is made against the ego and a number of perverse feelings in human beings, and also it is made to put under discipline a number of desires of the soul. As our Prophet said, the real jihad and greater jihad is this. Using a sword is an accidental situation that is resorted to when necessary or when making legitimate defense, and war is a calamity of human history. Islam calls this the "small jihad" and it is done only to protect such things of value as one's possessions, country, mind, belief and life, to overcome the obstacles between God and His servants and to open the way to becoming a perfected human being.
Claim-50: Fethullah Gülen says, "a balanced man of service to others doesn't immediately say what he wants to. He knows that if he says at once whatever he should, there can appear those who want to stop him." These words show that he's making deceit.
Answer: The history of mankind shows that atheism and atheist's struggle against religion and believers has never ended. Historically almost every prophet endured heavy torture, was forced to migrate from his homeland and, as mentioned in the Qur'an, many believers were made victims of such merciless torture as to be thrown into fires that were lit in open ditches. There are uncountable examples of this in our century. We frequently see that when it comes to the militants of a certain ideology, those who cry for the ban of capital punishment do not hesitate to write of their happiness with Muslims being executed for the smallest crime. Even though none of my activities have been determined to be against the interests of this country or against the law, there are those who don't want to give me or people who think like me even a chance to breathe. I am absolutely amazed by their degenerated consciences.
Claim-51: Fethullah Gülen sees cultural and artistic events as useless things that mislead people to sin. But in order to gain acceptance in society, if necessary he can finance these activities.
Answer: The addressee of such a claim should not be me, but those who put the economy and material things as the basis of everything and who see culture and art as superstructure.
Although I do not see any praiseworthy talent in myself, how can a person who has in his memory maybe around 2000 poems, who has written dozens of articles, poems and books, who years earlier wrote critiques of cultural and artistic subjects and published these in book form-how can such a person see culture and art as useless things that lead to sin? The following are just a few of the lines I wrote regarding culture and art:
Culture is an important resource that a nation will frequently turn to in its development and rise along its own special line. There is always a close relationship between the harmony and stability of a nation's life and the clearness of its cultural resource. Culture is born from such factors as a community's language, manner, customs and art, and later, by being worked and reworked, it becomes the society's style of life, the totality of a number of principles among which almost every piece is very important. Avoiding seeing these principles is blindness, and trying to remove them from society means total confusion.
Art is one of the most important ways to develop the spirit of progress and emotions. Those unfortunate talents that miss the opportunity to use this road live their whole lives as paralyzed people with one part of them dead. Art is like a magic key that discovers and opens hidden treasures. Behind the doors opened with art's key, ideas put on a dress of form and dreams become material.
Claim-52: Fethullah Gülen says that women are abominable and satanic. Speaking with women is prohibited. Woman's duty is to bear children and serve her master.
Answer: Those making this claim must be thinking that I'm a scholastic man of religion from the Middle Ages. There couldn't be any better proof of how they distort everything than this claim. Those who see woman as a physical object or merchandise are regarded as having elevated her, while those who spread Paradise beneath her feet are seen as having seen her as a devil! Everyone knows that the Qur'an gives one of its three longest suras the name "women" and speaks a lot about and elevates women like Maryam (Mary) and Asiya, and that our Prophet's blessed lineage continued through his daughter Fatima and how high 'Aisha's place is in Islam. When did I say or write that woman's only duty was to give birth to children and serve her master? To the contrary, my statement that "there is no problem with women working in public, and they can even be judges", was published in newspapers with the highest circulation. Those who claim the opposite but don't prove it are the greatest enemy to women and women's rights. The sermons I gave and my writings years earlier on women are open to inspection. A few sentences from my work will suffice to show how high a position I give women as a Muslim:
Woman is a most precious jewel that shouldn't be abused and dropped into sewers. I still haven't lost hope that the fortunate generations that will have awoken to knowledge, wisdom and truth will hold her as dearly as the pupils of their eyes.
They would call a son "makhdum" and a daughter "karima" which has fully the same meaning as gozbebegi (apple or pupil of the eye) which means very valuable, as necessary as it is valuable, and as fragile an organ as it is necessary.
Our women are the strongest foundation stone of our national honor and purity. In the construction of our long past, their share was no less than that of the heroes who fought face to face with the enemy.
A woman who has the light of faith in her heart and a mind enlightened by knowledge and social training, will gain new dimensions of beauty as if rebuilding her house each day.
Claim-53: Reactionaries have a big media network in Turkey. Among these are the "Samanyolu" TV channel, the "Zaman" newspaper and 14-15 magazines belonging to the Fethullah Gülen group. After article 163 of the penal code was lifted, there has been an increase in the radical publications of the reactionary media and there has been a trend towards these publications.
Answer: In proportion to Turkey's general population and broadcasting and publishing institutions, I do not believe that those accused of being reactionary have a big media network. But as I mentioned before, if all people who are a little careful about religion in their lives are included in the concept of reactionary, then it would be more correct to say of religious people rather than of reactionaries. Moreover, for example, the matter of newspaper circulation is obvious. The circulation of the newspapers published by those who are accused of being reactionary isn't even equal to the circulation of one of the papers published by those who are not included in this accusation. Again the sales ratio of the weekly "Aksiyon" ("Action") magazine, which I don't know how it's related to being reactionary, with the total sales of magazines that are published in its field and sell above certain figures is only 1 in 5. In addition to these magazines, there are many magazines on economics that are not reactionary. If you include these in the figures, then the sales of Aksiyon fall to a ratio of 1 in 10. The TV channels are obvious. Those channels that give rating reports everyday and claim that they are number one appear to have nothing to do with being reactionary. Moreover, the TV channels that are accused of being reactionary are not even mentioned in the ratings list. When it comes to racing for viewers and advertisements, the "reactionaries" are not worth mentioning, but when it comes to making accusations, they're presented as giants.
Secondly, I have no direct connection with the media organs that are associated with me. But, we may have parallel views. No one has the right to say anything about this.
Thirdly, the claim that after the 163rd article was lifted, the so-called reactionary media turned to radical publishing has absolutely no basis. For example, compare the issues of publications that are associated with me like Zaman, Sizinti and Yeni Ümit and other so-called "reactionary" media organs before the 163rd article was lifted and after. Let's see, is there really a trend toward radicalism as is claimed? This claim is only an excuse concocted to get the 163rd article reinstated.
Fourthly, have any media organs accused of being reactionary like Samanyolu TV, Channel 7, the Zaman newspaper and others, the Aksiyon and the like magazines, received any penalty or even a warning from the RTÜK (The Upper Institution of Radio and Television) on this matter, or have they been put under any kind of legal investigation? If the Turkish Republic is truly a secular and democratic state based on the law, then doesn't it have to behave according to the criteria of secularism, democracy and the law? On the one hand, you're going to champion a state based on secularism, democracy and the law. On the other hand, you're going to blame those who have not acted contrary to these characteristics of the state in a way that is contrary to these concepts. In fact, you even blacken some with the charge of being reactionary and make them the target of claims that they've committed the law's heaviest crimes like trying to destroy the Turkish Republic, which is a secular and democratic state based on law, or trying to change the political order. Isn't it necessary that people at least respect the principles that they've glorified?
Claim-54: The "Samanyolu" TV broadcast congregational prayers from the Ka'ba throughout the month of Ramadan. A TV channel that makes such a radical broadcast can do many more radical things.
Answer: What can praying have to do with being reactionary, especially praying at the Ka'ba to which all Muslims turn in prayer and which every year millions of Muslims visit in spite of every kind of hardship and for which they would give anything to be able to perform one prayer in that location? In a month when spiritual feelings become more enthusiastic, what kind of reactionary effect could broadcasting prayers from the Ka'ba produce on anyone? Or is accusing some of being reactionary just an excuse and a false pretext? Is religion in all its manifestations, the prayer, the Hajj, the Ka'ba, the real target?
Claim-55: In Turkey reactionary movements have great capital strength. In their hands there are more than 10 private finance institutions, many holdings, 4,000 companies and lots of foundations. For example, while these financial institutions had a 1.7 trillion TL volume in 1990, they had a 340 trillion TL volume in 1997. This is a terrifying increase.
Answer: There are two points in this claim. One is the roundness of the figures that shows they have no basis. Secondly, this claim is a very important example of how hatred makes man blind and how it atrophies the brain. Because 1.7 trillion in 1990 is at least equal to 350-400 trillion in 1997. Who can believe a claim of a person who cannot see this simple truth? In addition, new private finance houses were established between 1990 and 1997. In spite of this, the figures that are interpreted by the claimant to have made a "terrifying increase" show that there was no real increase in the volume of business of these institutions.
Also, why should private financial institutions be feared? It was written in the newspapers that these institutions, including similar banks, possess only 3% of the total deposits of all financial institutions. Secondly, the newspapers also wrote that Turkey is rich in regard to the amount of foreign currency and gold under the pillow. Isn't it necessary for someone who loves his country to investigate ways to draw foreign currency and gold to the market? If these institutions can attract only a small part of it, wouldn't it be smarter to encourage them? At the same time, which reactionary activity did these institutions support?
Claim-56: "Asya Finans" (Asia Finance) and "Isik Sigorta" (Light Insurance) are among the reactionary financial institutions belonging to Fethullah Gülen's group, and "Asya Finans" received hundreds of billions TL from the government.
Answer: "Asya Finans" and "Isik Sigorta" have founders, managers and owners. Moreover, Where's the proof that they are reactionary? Thirdly, both institutions were founded within the framework of the law, they're operating within the framework of the law and they're open to inspection within the framework of the law. Also, whether or not they received anything from the government can be ascertained from the managers themselves. If they did and the government gave it, then it must have been given and taken according to the laws in force. Instead of making a claim they will be humiliated by in the future, why don't they investigate the source of the matter?
Claim-57: Fethullah Gülen is holding meetings called "feyiz" (abundance, prosperity, enlightenment) with businessmen, and these businessmen meet with others in meetings called "halka" (circle).
Answer: I don't know where to start in order to correct the mistakes in this claim. "Feyiz" is a Sufi term. It means the spiritual pleasure, prosperity and inspiration flowing from God to the heart of His servant. "Halka" is the shape formed by people coming together to make "dhikr" (invocation) in the Sufi orders. These have nothing to do with my friends and me. This is something completely fabricated. Whoever made them up did a very amateur job.
Claim-58: Fethullah Gülen sees the army as an obstacle to his activities and for this reason he's trying to infiltrate it.
Answer: I have never made any activity in my life that was contrary, harmful or unacceptable to the army so that I would see the army as an obstacle and try and infiltrate it. Actually some people are trying to oppose every manifestation of religion and show secularism and Ataturkism as atheism. Those who want to use Ataturkism for their own ends are exploiting the army's sensitivity on the subjects of secularism and Ataturkism and are trying to incite the army against the religious and patriotic people of this country. The army has intervened in the running of this country three times in the history of the Republic, the first of which was a junta action that would sentence the Commander of the General Staff to life imprisonment. But after the intervention the army never took action against religion or the religious, and it didn't act against religion in the direction that those who incited it wanted them to. The real danger is in the efforts of some to play off the army against the nation from whose bosom it sprang and the things they hold sacred. I'm fully confident that the army is aware of this.
Claim-59: Fethullah Gülen advises those soldiers connected to his religious order: "Study hard, learn English, hide yourselves and get along well with your commanders."
Answer: Just as I've said many times that I don't have any connection with religious orders, objective scholars and intellectuals who know what the orders are have explained this subject from time to time in writing and speech. In spite of this, this matter's still being presented in a stereotype pattern could only be made with a malicious motive. Moreover, who are the soldiers I am claimed to have given advice to? I openly asked this by means of the media. When, where and to whom did I make the suggestions under question? In order to gain credibility, this claim included points that the army gives importance to. "Hide yourselves" was added to these principles so that they could accuse me!
Claim-60: Fethullah Gülen recommends that women from the community of his followers who are cultured and don't use "hijab" should marry officers.
Answer: Just like those above, this is an illogical lie that makes me shudder...
Claim-61: Fethullah Gülen has new projects to infiltrate the army.
Answer: I have no idea what these projects are. I've never had such a project because infiltration is made to an enemy. Just as my feelings regarding the army are obvious, so are my speeches and writings.
Claim-62: In order to get closer to the army and to show that he's accepted by them, he's taking retired generals to the schools in Asia.
Answer: People from all segments of society go to see the schools in Asia. Those who go give their impressions in writing or speech and they see that none of the accusations made from behind the desk in Turkey are relevant. No one is forced to go. If some generals went, obviously they weren't forced to. Is it the duty of true patriots, who want to find the truth and who want to know whether an activity is of benefit or harm to the nation, to sit behind a desk and produce slander and imputations or to see the activity in its location? Which course of action does intelligence and knowledge demand? Which one does democracy, secularism and the law dictate? Is there something wrong with members of the army, who are more particular about these matters than other segments of society, seeing these activities about which such suspicions are able to be produced?
Claim-63: There's a rumor that "when Fethullah Gülen says so, the ships don't set out." Also, Fethullah Gülen is very influential at Police Headquarters.
Answer: I do not know how influential I am where, and I don't have any tool to measure it. Let whoever said the other or whoever started the rumor be found and ask what that means. Was I going to say, "The ships won't set out"? Why should I say such a thing? What a meaningless fabrication this is. If there's one point that needs to be explained, it's this:
As everyone knows, I preached for years. I have given conferences in almost every city. I have many published books. Our people are Muslim, and they're devoted to their religion in different degrees. For this reason, anything to do with religion will attract their interest. They especially want their rulers, soldiers and police to be religious and trust in religious rulers. The army and police force are institutions comprised of individuals from the bosom of the people. They're not institutions comprised of individuals from other nations or creatures from space. Thus, it's very natural that there might be people in them who have listened to some of my sermons, read some of my books, attended my conferences or felt some interest in my opinions. Isn't this perfectly natural? Moreover, I have not said or written anything against any law! Isn't it whether these people have participated in activities contrary to the army's and police force's rules and principles that should be paid attention to? Have I made a suggestion contrary to these rules and principles and have they, taking this suggestion as a basis, broken these rules and principles? This should be determined, and can a single example of such an occurrence be cited? If it can't be shown, then certainly one day the true intentions will surface of those who produce such groundless claims and try to present the army and police in a certain line against this nation's belief. Nothing can remain hidden for long.
Claim-64: Fethullah Gülen knows Abdullah Catli and Halûk Kirci. He spoke to them.
Answer: When this claim was first made, Halûk Kirci called a TV channel and openly said "those making this claim are base and dishonorable." There was no response from those making the claim. Don't those who made this false claim, who become silent when the time comes to prove it, deserve Halûk Kirci's reaction?
Claim-65: Fethullah Gülen is connected to the Moon religious order in America. Fethullah Gülen is one of the Pope's secret cardinals. He's one of the CIA's most important men in Asia and his group is one of the most important civil organizations working for the CIA.
Answer: The answer to this is like the answers to the previous claims. Each of these claims is nothing more than a fabricated slander and baseless accusation made by those who see Turkey's stability and internal peace as contrary to their interests and hopes for prosperity or people who are radically opposed to religion. They are trying to turn everyone-from our citizens in the village to administrators in the highest echelons- against the activities, which I have recommended and encouraged. Everyone with common sense knows and is aware of this.
Also, doesn't this claim contradict the others? In fact, doesn't this last slander contradict itself? On the one hand, having connections to the Pope; on the other hand, being a member of the Moon order; and at the same time the trying to establish a Shari'a state... What a huge contradiction! Moreover, being connected to the Moon order and being a cardinal of the Pope's are contradictory situations.
Just as many other slanders, this last one was given the necessary reply by the courts and those who made these false claims were sentenced.
Claim-66: Fethullah Gülen had tapes of his 1976 sermons distributed all over the country for propaganda purposes.
Answer: I've never made an offer, suggestion or recommendation regarding the taping of my sermons and the distribution or sales of the tapes nor the publishing of my writings, sermons or talks. Everyone who knows me will admit that I've always tried to escape from propaganda, personal publicity and fame. But if some who thought it would be beneficial to transmit the sermons and writings to others and did so, what is the logic behind counting this as a crime?
Claim-67: F. Gülen learned he was going to be arrested on September 13, 1980, one day after the coup, and he escaped to Erzurum.
Answer: Like the others, this claim is completely false. I was in Izmir that day and many days to follow. No one brought me the news that I was going to be arrested.
Claim-68: In a meeting he attended in Denizli, Fethullah Gülen said, "Scholars are responsible for this country's becoming a slave
to the devil."
Answer: This style is not my style. Anyone who has listened to me even a little knows I have said in dozens of talks that scholars are the heirs of the prophets.
Claim-69: Fethullah Gülen got a 20-day report from the Psychiatric Clinic of the Cerrahpaþa Faculty of Medicine on February 27, 1981.
Answer: For the love of God, please let them present this report...!
Claim-70: On September 23, 1985, Sabri Kadioglu, a member of Fethullah Gülen's group who lives in Canakkale's Biga district, distributed Abdülkerim Zellum's book "Hilâfet Nasil Yikildi" (How The Caliphate Collapsed).
Answer: I've never read such a book, and I don't know the author. I'm not acquainted with Sabri Kadioglu either. Not only have I not suggested that such a book be distributed, but everyone who knows me knows that I'm very far removed from this kind of discussion and these subjects.
Claim-71: In 1981 Fethullah Gülen hid in the house of Hayrettin Toprak, owner of the Toprak Dental Clinic and a "Nurcu" leader in Ankara.
Answer: A report based on serious intelligence would give the day, month and year of an event, not just the year. I don't know such a person; let those who know him ask him about it. I think the answer they get will embarrass the slanderers.
Claim-72: In 1987 Fethullah Gülen told his students that he talked with Alparslan Turkes, that Turkes wanted to train his (religious) community according to the Shari'a and that he had accepted this.
Answer: This is the first time I've heard that Turkes had a (religious) community. Like the others, this is just a fabrication.
Claim-73: In 1990 Fethullah Gülen attended a meeting in Istanbul in the house of Korkut Ozal's in-laws. He contributed 3.5 billion TL to the MCP (National Working Party). In 1992 he gave material-spiritual support to Muhsin Yazicioglu who separated from MCP.
Answer: These are all fabricated claims based on slander and lies that have been answered at different times. Korkut Ozal and Muhsin Yazicioglu and most of the administrators of MCP at that time are still alive. They themselves can be asked.
Claim-74: Fethullah Gülen is now giving a salary to around 30 governors.
Answer: Those who made this claim, which puts all of our governors under suspicion, should come forth and, if they're sincere, they should definitely prove this. At the same time, this is a slander against the Turkish Republic, the government and the government's governors.
Claim-75: In 1990 Fethullah Gülen went out of the country several times for reasons of personal illness and in 1992 he went to Azerbaijan.
Answer: I only went out of the country once in 1991. I've never been to Azerbaijan. If the intention is to find out the truth, this matter can be verified from my passport and customs records.
Claim-76: In 1997, rather than for health purposes, Fethullah Gülen went to America for lobbying and behind-the-scene activities and because of his concern that the law would pursue him when the Refah Party fell. Later the American lobbies present Fethullah Gülen as the leader of world Muslims.
Answer: I have no need for lobbying or behind-the-scene activities. But there is nothing more natural for me than entering, as a plain person, into dialogue with others that I believe will be beneficial to my country and mankind. I went to the USA because of a heart problem that was giving me a lot of discomfort at that time. Although as a result of the angiogram and other tests the doctors said that definitely an operation was needed, I couldn't decide about it. It's not possible that I went because I was worried the law would pursue me because there was no reason for or sign of this. If such a danger had existed, it could have been done upon my return. Moreover, my leaving the country because of fear of legal action is out of the question. Even when I was sought in 1986 and restrictions had been put on me, I returned to Turkey after the hajj and surrendered to the State Security Court. They set me free without feeling need to make any inquiry.
Regarding the claim that the USA lobbies present me as the leader of world Muslims, this is completely groundless. I've indicated countless times that I'm not interested in leadership or claims of leadership.
Claim-77: If Fethullah Gülen's purpose in opening schools was to serve Turkey, he would have opened schools in Eastern and South Eastern Turkey before Asia.
Answer: Although opening schools is not in my hands, it's true that a lot of schools, preparatory courses and dormitories have been opened there with my encouragement and recommendation. But it's also true that the number of schools is less than desired. The reason for this is the terrorist activities that have been continuing for a long time and along with other great difficulties, perhaps more so than those, are the obstacles that people in positions of authority have created on this matter.
I don't want to say too much on this delicate subject. I'm going to suffice with a quotation from a newspaper article on this subject written by an objective pen: "Did you give permission in Turkey, did you give support, did you give a helping hand, did you clear the path that, Gülen didn't show the way or didn't give encouragement to opening schools in the places which you mentioned? Could he have done more in view of the enmity toward education and ideological labeling that has resulted in an attempt to close the schools that have been opened and to find a hidden purpose behind opening the schools? The best reply to this question is given by the brain drain to other countries. Accomplishing this much is a great success in a country that gives permission to science, scientists, education and educators only to the degree of their conformity to its own ideology and interests."
Claim-78: Even if Fethullah Gülen is moderate, dose to half his friends are radical.
Answer: Until now in my attitude, writings and speech I have always recommended being a factor of balance, affection, peace and security in the country and avoiding extreme actions and activities contrary to the current laws. It's not possible for those who have truly identified with my ideas to think or act any differently. Moreover, there are radical groups in this country and they sometimes accuse me of stepping outside of religion. If there really are radicals among my "friends", wouldn't it be more logical for them to join the truly radical groups?
Claim-79: Although he appears to be moderate and outside of politics, Fethullah Gülen is following a far-range political aim. If the radical current is traveling at a speed of 100 km an hour and the current he represents at 5 km an hour, they're both flowing into the same sea.
Answer: If there is still suspicion regarding a person who has never expressed a political aim in his speech and actions, or even the suggestion of it, and who has never displayed a radical attitude, then it can only be the result of hostility. Secondly, it's mind-boggling that we are put in the same boat with the segment called radical even though from the beginning we have "flowed" in different directions, nurtured different thoughts and feelings, carried different purposes and always reacted differently to events. And not just today, but this has been the case for almost fifty years. If our understanding of Islam is different and if this difference is fundamental and naturally manifests in different speech, behavior and attitudes, then how can "flowing to the same sea" still be spoken of?
Claim-80: Fethullah Gülen is the vehicle for the "moderate Islam" project that the USA introduced to destroy Kemalism, Turkey's ideology of independence.
Answer: This claim contains several inconsistencies. Before turning to the inconsistencies, I want to mention one point:
I don't know what is meant by "moderate Islam". But one thing I do know is that Islam is innately "moderate" and opposed to roughness. Islam is at the point of balance between this world and the next, the material and spiritual, spirit and body and the real and ideal. For this reason, Islam has no place in polarities. Islam is between excess and deficiency; it's a middle road between two extremes, a road of equilibrium. Thus, matters that we've tried to emphasize like love, respect, mercy, tolerance and dialogue comprise Islam's essence.
After indicating this point, we can turn to the inconsistencies in this claim. To begin with, isn't there any inconsistency between, on the one hand, accusing someone of having political aims and a goal to establish a religious state and, on the other hand, imputing that he's a vehicle for a "moderate Islam" project backed by America or Israel? It is understood that the real intention of those who spread such slanders is not to find out or express the truth, but to put under suspicion at any cost a person they do not like and the things he's seen to represent.
Secondly, is there even the slightest piece of evidence that America has such a project and that I am implementing it? In addition, is there any evidence that America, Israel or any other country is financing or even donated a cent to activities made by this nation's self-sacrificing citizens for the sake of mankind? Can American teachers working in some Asia schools-I don't know whether they do or not-be a proof of that? Don't American, German, English, in short, teachers or other kinds of employees from many nations work all over the world, in various schools in Turkey and even in some important Turkish official departments? For example, isn't it a fact that our intelligence agency MIT has relations with the CIA and MOSSAD and that they co-operate with them on some issues? Similarly, isn't the Turkish army in close co-operation with the American army in NATO?
Thirdly, the extreme leftist elements, who supported the military intervention of February 28th hoping for some benefits for themselves and who are now making unbelievable accusations against me, certainly see that the closest relations with Israel have taken place during the period following February 28th. They also see that the army was behind these relations. In fact, the one newspaper bothering with me the most printed a full-page interview with the Israeli ambassador. In addition, America gave a Medal of Honor to our Commander of the General Staff (now retired), If as claimed, America is putting into force a "moderate Islam" project through me to destroy Kemalism, then shouldn't the army be opposed to America as well? If I'm a supporter of Israel, then either the army and Israel should be enemies or, as claimed, the maker of the February 28th period, the army, shouldn't be hostile towards me. When someone throws forward a claim, shouldn't he at least refrain from openly contradicting himself? And then, I wonder if those who give voice to these claims spoke or wrote a single word against closer Turkey-Israel relations or America giving a Medal of Honor to our Commander of the General Staff?
Finally, I must add that they would be able to show very few people as sensitive about this country's independence as me. I can give every kind of guarantee on this subject.
Relating dreams and miracles he ascribes to himself, Fethullah Gülen is trying to fool the people.
Answer: It's not possible to fool people all the time. If in spite of all my personal faults, some important things are done through my advice and encouragement, and if some people are motivated to action by simple suggestions and advice, then they must be based on the truth and not a lie. How long can a firefly claim that it's an electric lamp or the sun and who can it fool?
Secondly, in the Holy Qur'an Sura Yusuf is based on a dream. True dreams have an important place in man's life. Our Prophet saw dreams that appeared in broad daylight during the first six months of his Prophethood. For this reason he said, "A true dream is one part of the 46 parts of Prophethood" and "Revelation has stopped at last, but good tidings coming in dreams remain." There's almost no one who hasn't seen a true dream in his life. For this to happen it's not necessary to be Muslim. God can show a true dream to everyone he wishes. A number of scientific discoveries were made as a result of dreams. For example, Elias Howe found the sewing machine needle as a result of a dream. The dreams of Eisenhower before the Normandy landing during the Second World War and Abraham Lincoln the night before his assassination are famous. While mentioning some anecdotes in Kuçukk Dunyam ("My Little World"), have I fooled people by relating a few dreams that I thought were important?
Moreover, I never mentioned that I worked some miracles. They criticize me for claiming I worked miracles and, in order to prove their claim, they mention the incident of my not being bitten by mosquitos at the Ka'ba. In Oral Calislar's interview with me, I said, "my reason for relating this is to indicate that the Ka'ba is a place of safety". If I had mentioned this incident as a miracle of mine, then I wouldn't have indicated in Kucuk Dunyam that in jail I was constantly prey to the attacks of mosquitos. In addition, the holy Qur'an indicates that man has been created as noble. The words "keramet" (miracle) and "kerim" (noble) come from the same root. In other words, man is an honorable creature distinguished by God's gifts. God can make customary or extraordinary gifts to such an honorable creature. For example, it is mentioned in the Qur'an that He gives inspiration to the bee. Is man less and less valuable in the sight of God than a bee that he can't receive Divine gifts and inspiration? Just because those who see man as composed only of blood, flesh and bones don't believe, shouldn't one remember God's blessings and mention some of His gifts for the sake of gratefulness?
Claim-82: Although Fethullah Gülen gives the appearance of being democratic and moderate and although he appears to support tolerance and peace, he is the head of the most secret and most dangerous reactionary activities geared to establishing a theocratic dictatorship based on Shari'a principles. In the final stages he intends to set up a caliphate to rule all countries with Turkish roots and all Muslim societies. He will accomplish this by:
a. Fooling politicians and the people with these appearances,
b. Creating a society by means of the young people who have been brain-washed in his schools,
c. Creating a "world religions union" by means of meeting with the highest level religious representatives like the Pope and by getting the support of members of other religions and other governments or at least by breaking the general opposition,
d. Developing a "green belt" by means of the schools he opened inside and outside of Turkey, the companies he founded, the student dormitories he opened and the media network he established,
e. Infiltrating the TSK (Turkish Military Forces), on the one hand, and strengthening the Police Force against them, on the other,
f. Depending on his very large property holdings or unclear financial support from, according to rumors, funds coming from Western countries to break fundamentalist Islamic activities or, another probability, funds coming from institutions like Isik Sigorta, Asya Finans and ISHAD or donations from businessmen whom he advised to get rich.
Answer: Like the others answered, these claims are also full of mental defectiveness, malice, rage and contradictions so much so that they would embarrass their owners before the common-sense public and put them in a ridiculous position. I will try and answer them within the framework you set:
1. The most obvious characteristic of all these accusations and claims is their forming a ball of contradictions. Please give your attention:
While in some claims I am accused of trying to establish an Islamic state centered in Mecca, now it is said that I'm trying to form a "green belt", prepare a foundation for an organization under the name of "world religions union", and intend to establish a regime based on Shari'a principles or a theocratic dictatorship or a caliphate that will include all Turks and Muslims. I've answered these kinds of claims many times. If a person making some claim doesn't have any evidence in his hand, shouldn't he at least try and be consistent? I'm 60 years old and I have many illnesses. Until now I have only tried to perform my duties as a servant of God and citizen as best I can for the sake of national peace and unity and in order to go to the next world having gained God's approval. It is obvious to what point things have come that have been done in the name of serving others as far as we can reach inside and outside of Turkey. First of all, almost all governments in the world and all great powers of the world are opposed to a Shari'a state, theocratic state and the Caliphate. Everyone can see-even if those who are furious can't-that without possessing the guns and financial strength to overturn all the governments and powers, such a thing would not be possible. Under today's conditions and with the possibilities we have, anyone cherishing such an impossible dream must not only be crazy, but a megalomaniac. Today the Turkish Republic is not the only state highly sensitive about secularism and opposed to a Shari'a state. Every country in which there are the schools attributed to me-it's interesting that Iran and Saudi Arabia which call themselves Shari'a states don't permit this-is as sensitive about the matter of secularism and alert to a theocratic state as the Turkish Republic is. So much so that, as members of the press who visited these schools openly expressed in their impressions, for fear that prayer will follow cleanliness, they didn't even permit keeping the toilets clean and canonical purification.
2. As a second point, those making these claims appear to be completely uninformed about Islam's essence, aim and real identity. As I've expressed many times at the risk of attracting others' anger and opposition in the name of religion, the basic principles of faith are Islam's foundation. For centuries these principles have been neglected and left to crumble down especially under the influence of the materialist principles of science and philosophy. Faith is the most basic support of happiness in this world and especially the next. Thus, giving priority to and concentrating on faith and worship mean the best and most authentic service to be done in our time in the name of religion. Don't those who make these inappropriate and inconsistent claims consider the young generations cut off from religion, faith, the fear of God and concern about the hereafter and try to find solutions to such problems that are taking us towards disaster as:
a. The formation of gangs in every field,
b. Abuse of power that has embraced almost the whole country,
c. Addiction to heroine and drugs that is increasingly pulling the young into a terrible "swamp" it forms,
d. Growing consumption of alcohol and alcoholism,
e. Increasing incidents of theft, murder and prostitution and many other types of immorality?
Where else does the antidote and cure to these illnesses lie except in religion, faith, worship, and fear of God and the Hereafter? Is there any people who believe and perform their worship among those who have been infected with these social ills? In order to be able to serve the country, wouldn't it be the most agreeable way to satisfy the minds and hearts of young people with scientific knowledge and faith? Isn't this what I constantly advise and encourage? So, what other motives except the desire to benefit in the name of their own political and ideological purposes or an atheistic hostility towards religion could underlie our work's constantly being seen or shown with a political purpose although there is absolutely no sign or evidence of such?
3. At the moment Islam came forward it made a universal call for dialogue to the People of the Book (Christians and Jews), "Come, let's meet in a word common to us: Let's not worship any but God and not associate any partners with Him. Let us not take some of us as Lords besides God." Only centuries later in 1963 did Christianity answer with a call for a dialogue, and unfortunately world Muslims remained indifferent to this call for various reasons. Whereas, today every sociologist states that dialogue is essential to
Islam and can contribute greatly to the world peace. In addition, our country is seeking lobbyists to publicize our interests in the world and on international platforms, and large sums of money are being paid to them. Although I am not the first to make a call for dialogue, as a necessity of Islam's call made 14 centuries ago, I am answering the call the Holy See made 25 years before and meeting with representatives of other religions. What gain can I expect from this for theocratic state? The Pope and other representatives of religion with whom I have met do not see in such meetings any danger of a caliphate that will include all Turks and Muslims. Are they less intelligent and less informed about my activities than those who, making inconsistent claims and constantly falling into conflict, see such a danger?
4. I have pointed out numerous times that I now have nothing to do with nor in the past 60 years did I have anything to do with infiltrating the Turkish Armed Forces or trying to get along with them temporarily or strengthening the Police Force against them as claimed. Many times I have invited those making such claims to prove them.
Almost everyone knows that I like the army very much. I have articles written on this subject before 1980. Moreover, if I had been opposed to the army, during the time known as the February 28 period by the public, especially during the Welfare Party period, I could have co-operated with groups opposed to the governing party and the army and become involved in activities to weaken the army. Just as I didn't do this, I openly defended the army on a television channel at the expense of inviting a lot of hostility. While what I've written, spoken and done in my 60-years of life so far is obvious, who has the right to accuse me of the opposite for the sake of their own fixed ideological ideas, hostility to religion and ambitions based on their phobias, obsessions and delusions?
5. In the claims, the financial backing for the schools they attribute to me is shown, on the one hand, to be some rich persons among the people and, on the other hand, Asya Finans (Asia Finance), Isik Sigorta (Light Insurance) and ISHAD (Businessmen Association). Again, they claim that the source of the backing is unclear, while they are also making allegations-without any evidence to substantiate them-that some Western countries-whose names they do not mention-give help for fear of radical religious movements. Some of their allegations are based on "rumors". I wonder what so many contradictions in a claim mean?
6. I have repeatedly stated that I have no direct connection to Asya Finans, Isik Sigorta or ISHAD. Secondly, these institutions have all been founded according to current laws, and they operate within these same laws. The media
stated that all the private financial institutions in Turkey have only a 2.5% share of the activities of banks and similar institutions. Among these Asya Finans's share could only be expressed in thousandths. In our country giant holdings exist here and control the country's most important financial resources, making profits in the trillions. Shouldn't it be good news for the economic life of our country that other entrepreneurs have found similar institutions? Why do some feel so uncomfortable with these institutions? Or is it that some in this country don't even want competition whose market share is only in the thousandths, and that those making these claims are acting as their spokesmen on behalf of mutual interest?
7. Everyone knows that I don't have any possessions or property except for my books that I have donated to a foundation and my clothing. All institutions in the country are officially registered; there are official records for all of them including naturally the Akyazili Foundation. It's possible to control these at any time and in fact they are being controlled. This being the case, I vehemently reject these claims attributing property to me.
8. Finally, Shari'a has never meant a theocratic state and never calls for a dictatorship. The meaning of physics concepts should be sought in the science of physics, the meaning of chemistry concepts in the science of chemistry, medical concepts in medicine, and sociological concepts in sociology. Thus, the meaning of Shari'a should be sought in Islamic works. The word Shari'a means "path" like religion, and thus scholars have used it with the same meaning as religion. Faith, worship and morality are included in the Shari'a. For this reason 95% of our religion or Shari'a are related to faith, worship and morality, and the part related to administration only constitutes 5%. I've expressed this truth many times, and I've indicated that showing interest in the 5% while the 95% remain neglected is a mistake. I said, "Let our administrators think about this 5%.
Even if the Shari'a meant what those making these claims think it does, it can never have anything to do with theocracy and dictatorship. As almost everyone knows, theocracy means an administrative and political system in which a class of men of religion who say they're acting in God's name are in power. There's no such class of men in Islam and no one can say they act on behalf of God. Thus, there has never been a theocracy in the history of Islam. In spite of this obvious truth, because they are afraid of openly saying so, those making these claims are hypocritically trying to conceal their hostility to Islam under the name of Shari'a.
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