November 6, 2015

The state of the Gülen movement post Nov. 1

İhsan Yılmaz

1. Many Gülen movement volunteers did not want to see the Justice and Development Party (AKP) return to power, hoping that the tyranny, which marked the past two years, would end. In this sense, they clearly didn't get what they had wished for.

2. In normally functioning democracies, the pre-election atmosphere is marked by sharp and critical rhetoric, but when the elections are over, the losers accept their fate, while the victors accept their new role with maturity, underscoring that they are prepared to lead the entire country. And while the post-election statements we heard in Turkey fit this principle, it appears quite likely that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, intent on wiping out the Gülen movement, will put as much pressure as possible on the rest of the AKP to work with him on this front.

3. The AKP could well move forward in its apparent fervor to trample the law and eliminate the Gülen movement, despite having spent the past two years to no avail, using every state tool at its beck and call to try and prove that the movement was somehow a criminal one. But this would, as we've seen over the past two years, be a decision that would plunge the entire country into further tension, and have an economically devastating effect as well.

4. It is not possible for the AKP to destroy the Gülen movement. After all, it is a movement that emerged from this country, and which has deep roots throughout Turkey. As a movement, it is a 100 percent national and sociological reality. What's more, its infrastructure of philosophy and belief are very strong. One million people, even if forced into relocation as far back as 1915, are not going to give up on their hopes and beliefs, just because they are victims of tyranny. After all, these are people who have devoted themselves to their beliefs, fully aware of the difficulty of the path they have chosen. Which is why they have not been shaken, neither during times such as the Feb. 28 process, nor over the past two years.

5. The AKP can try to use illegal methods -- such as appointing state trustees -- to take over institutions that belong to the Gülen movement. In the short term, this will hurt the movement. But for as long as the actual members of the movement are not killed, they will continue emerging from their cocoons, spreading all over Turkey, and even all across the world.

6. Though Gülen movement volunteers have not spread throughout the world as much as they might have -- despite the energetic encouragement on this front offered by Fethullah Gülen -- they will now likely admit that there is a silver lining to every cloud and dispense with the easiness of keeping all their eggs in one basket.

7. While all of the above happens, the Gülen movement will enter into a new period of calculation and reckoning with itself. In the wake of the long-lasting period of tyrannical behavior it has been targeted by, many members of the movement will finally rid themselves of the remains of the ideology that somehow growth in terms of material development is the most important thing.

8. Gülen movement members have begun to refocus, as they did more in the past, not on growth, but rather on circumstance and quality. Work quality will transcend current levels to more global standards.

9. We will enter into a period when Gülen volunteers will finally cleanse themselves of ideologies that fall contrary to true Islamic values -- like nationalism and stateism. From this angle, the mistakes made by the AKP are actually quite valuable in terms of the lessons they offer.

10. It is likely that from now on, Gülen movement volunteers will no longer offer to any political party in Turkey the large level of support seen given to the AKP earlier on in its power. There will no doubt be greater care taken into maintaining a distance between the movement and all political parties.

11. The movement will continue to make an effort to be a social conscience, one which encourages good, prevents evil, and works against tyranny without questioning the identity of the victims or targets.

The above are all, of course, just speculation on my part. We'll just have to wait and see what life has in store for us all.

Published on Today's Zaman, 6 November 2015, Friday

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