Issuing a press statement following the latest terrorist attack in Turkey on Saturday, Muslim scholar Fethullah Gülen claimed that Turkey is being dragged into a civil war but underlined that sympathizers of the movement sometimes called after him would always remain peaceful no matter how they are treated.
“God forbid, it seems that Turkey is being dragged into civil war as a ground for ethnic and sectarian conflicts is built,” Gülen said on the herkul.org website, the online platform on which Gülen’s latest messages are shared with the public. He urged everyone who loves his or her country to be on the alert against such a possibility.
Gülen emphasized that the Hizmet, a.k.a Gülen, movement, has adopted “positive action” as a principle and that no matter how its sympathizers are treated, they would never pursue unconstitutional or illegitimate methods.
Despite Gülen’s consistent messages against violence, the Turkish government, led by the Justice and Development Party (AKP), has been accusing him of plotting a July 15 coup attempt and labeling the movement as a “terrorist” in the absence of any violent action by its followers.
Gülen has been living in self-imposed exile since 1999 in Pennsylvania. Over the years, a significant, yet unknown number of, people from Turkey have been inspired by his teachings promoting education and the peaceful coexistence of different faiths and have opened schools and dialogue centers around the world.
Turkey has been pursuing a relentless purge against the real and perceived sympathizers of the Gülen movement that gained momentum after July 15. Over 40,000 people have been arrested over alleged Gülen links while schools and companies that were run by the movement’s followers have been seized in the unprecedented purge.
Gülen previously argued that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan waged an all out war against the movement after the movement refused to support his bid for leadership of the Muslim world.
Published on Turkish Minute, 18 December 2016, Sunday