How can the Gülen Movement's goals be characterized?
Firstly, the goals of the Gülen Movement are overt. Decisions are made and goals are set in open-to-all service-networks, in the full light of publicity without concealing the existence or objectives of the Movement and without keeping participants' identities secret.
Goals are set through rational public discussion and decision-making. So the Movement does not establish a separate existence or intention that is free from outside supervision. Another characteristic of goals is that they are consistently positive, constructive and non-disruptive. They are non-violent, non-coercive and peaceful in theory and practice.
In the Gülen-inspired educational institutions specifically, the primary purpose of the education is to ensure respect for objective and universal human values.
What goals take priority in the Gülen Movement?
As a result of the diversity of backgrounds of the people in the service-networks, the Gülen Movement focuses on general, precise, concrete, unifying and constructive goals rather than changeable and unattainable goals and passing interests.
This focus produces within the Movement an understanding of ‘a permanent hierarchy of interests’ in society. The priorities in the Movement are education, interfaith dialogue, and non-political, non-conflictual and non-violent community services, improving oneself and developing social and cultural potential.
The pattern of development, phase and specialization may change in secondary details from country to country. However, the central theme or goal of the Gülen Movement has been never to turn into a political, ideological, oppositional, conflictual or violent movement at any time or in any location. Participants are of course never required, but they are also not allowed, to challenge the constraints established by law or general public norms: the history of the Movement so far has never shown any departure from this principle.
Does the Gülen Movement share goals with wider society?
Creating alliances, connections, and definitions of common goals is central to the Gülen Movement's successes in any of the systems or societies within which participants work.
Polls carried out by independent institutions and organizations indicate that the overwhelming majority of the Turkish public and other non-Turkish societies approve of the works and deeds of Gülen and Movement participants. The results of the polls indicate widespread acceptance of the Movement’s values and goals.
The Gülen Movement co-operates with other legitimate and institutionalized organizations concerned with the same issues. It is keen to develop joint initiatives based on compatible definitions. The activities of the educational institutions, such as science and knowledge Olympiads, student exchange programs, the activities of the Foundation of Journalists and Writers all around the world, and local and regional cultural and dialogue centers, aid-relief work in several countries are good, clear examples of such cooperation.
Do service-networks in the Gülen Movement ever select short-term projects?
If specific issues are connected with universal values (peace, human rights, poverty relief, and so on), short-term projects can be taken up, allowing an immediate and correspondingly transitory mobilization.
Examples of this have been earthquake relief for Pakistan, Peru and Haiti, Far East tsunami aid, African famine and poverty relief, and other relief efforts in disaster-hit countries.
Such action is carried out within the bounds of transnational consensus and legality. Different components converge in such mobilizations – institutions, the media, luminaries from the art world, and foreign authorities. What is striking about these short-term service-projects is that the Gülen Movement draws especially upon local service-networks, leisure time and also professionalized commitment. In this way, the collective actor of the Movement establishes relationships and co-operates with the institutions or professionalized sectors of the market for short-term mobilizations, An example of this was the football match organized between a world team and the Turkish national team for Bosnian-Croatian orphans, whose education had been disrupted by lack of facilities and finances after the war.
What kinds of goals are not permitted in the Gülen Movement?
Political, personal and violent goals are not permitted; action without consensus, that is, any action or initiative taken without any collective reasoning, discussion and consultation is not permitted; personal and material gain by means of services is not permitted; extremism, immorality, and bad habits are not permitted.
Movement participants have a clear definition of the services, the field of their action, the goals and the instruments used to achieve them. As a result, they know what to expect and what not to expect in return for what they are doing. The Movement also has a great deal of accumulated experience, and it is very successful at imparting this to its participants and to those outside the Movement. The Movement therefore does not experience a gap between unattainable goals and expectations and rewards. The Gülen Movement can be distinguished from direct action, protest movements, cults and sects in a clear way because of its clear general goals and particular objectives, its attainable projects, the legitimacy of the means that it uses and the ends it aspires to, and its accountability about projects.
Related Article: Short and long-term goals of participants in the Gülen Movement