Founder of the Gülen movement, Muhammed Fethullah Gülen (L) and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R). Read more: “The Coalition Crumbles: Erdoğan, the Gülenists, and Turkish Democracy”
Turkey’s political imams
A Muslim cleric in America wields surprising political power in Turkey
May 18th 2013, NEW JERSEY
IN A recent sermon Fethullah Gulen, Turkey’s most powerful Muslim cleric, preached against hubris. Delivered in rural Pennsylvania, where Mr Gulen lives in self-imposed exile, it was broadcast from his website with an electrifying effect. Was the holy man alluding to Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s increasingly authoritarian prime minister?
Mr Gulen is the spiritual leader of a global network, the Hizmet (meaning service), that includes media outlets, schools and charities. These have spread his pacifist, modern-minded Islam, often praised as a contrast to more extreme Salafism. Much of the network is financed by Anatolian businessmen.