November 30, 2014

Thousands pay final respects to Gülen’s brother in Erzurum

Seyfullah Gülen, who died at the age of 72 on Friday and was the brother of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, was laid to rest in a funeral attended by thousands of people in the eastern province of Erzurum on Sunday.

Seyfullah Gulen's funeral in Erzurum

Gülen passed away at the private Şifa Hospital in Erzurum, where he had been receiving treatment after a heart attack.

Gülen's funeral took place at Lala Paşa Mosque in the Yakutiye district, with thousands of people from across the country in attendance. Among those at the funeral were Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON) President Rıza Nur Meral, Boydak Holding Chairman Hacı Boydak, Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV) President Mustafa Yeşil, Kimse Yok Mu President İsmail Cingöz, Zaman Managing Editor Veysel Ayhan, Cihan news agency General Manager Abdülhamit Bilici, Aksiyon Editor-in-Chief Bülent Korucu, Irmak TV General Manager Süleyman Sargın and many others from all walks of life.

Following the funeral prayer, Gülen was buried in the village of Korucuk in the district of Pasinler, also in Erzurum.

Gülen had been at the hospital due to heart and respiratory problems since suffering a heart attack four months ago. He was admitted to the intensive care unit a month ago after he was struck by partial paralysis. He had been on life support but failed to respond to the treatment given.

Known as Sıbgatullah by his family, he was a retiree who had worked at Atatürk University in the past. He was married and a father of nine. One of his sons is Samanyolu TV anchor Kemal Gülen.

On Friday, Seyfullah Gülen's younger brother Mesih Gülen said they had spoken with Fethullah Gülen but that they did not expect him to attend his brother's funeral.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the faith-based Hizmet movement which promotes inter-religious dialogue and educational activities, has been living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999 and has not returned to the country since then.

Unable to hold back tears, Mesih Gülen told Today's Zaman that his children had been expecting him to recover.

Another of Fethullah Gülen's brother, Hasbi Nida Gülen, died at the age of 66 in October 2012 at a hospital in Ankara, where he was receiving treatment for lung cancer.

The oldest of eight children, Fethullah Gülen has five brothers, the late Seyfullah (Sıbgatullah), Mesih, the late Hasbi (Nida), Salih and Kutbettin. He also has two sisters, Nurhayat and Fazilet.

Published on Sunday's Zaman, 30 November 2014, Sunday