Thursday, December 19, 2013
Gulen Protests, Stop the Imam and his CULT: 3rd GULEN PROTEST, December 28, 2013 Saylorsburg, ...: The protest will take place on Dec 28th Saturday at 2.00pm LOCATION LOGGING RD 45006 Saylorsburg, PA at a ranch site.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Parents are being informed of a plan to make The Warriner School and two primaries an academy, sponsored by a Turkish-backed organisation.
The primary schools are Sibford and Hornton. Parents have been sent letters by Warriner Dr Annabel Kay and chair of governors Mandy Morris extolling the virtues of the plan and an open meeting was held to answer questions.
The organisations involved, BAU Foundation and Mentora Academies Trust, are new and were only accepted and registered with the Department for Education (DfE) in August.
If the schools leave Oxfordshire County Council – the local education authority (LEA) – they will be funded centrally. It is not known how much the allowance will be but the Mentora Academies Trust will give the academy a ‘token’ £150,000 a year and it is understood the academy would be better off.
Dr Kay, an unpaid director of the BAU Foundation, said: “This is an exciting to access national best practice to support all our schools in providing the very best outcomes for all our children.
“The directors are a group of highly-skilled people who want to work with us to be the very best we can.”
Academies organise and pay for their own management and administration with input from their sponsor and can reorganise pay scales and conditions to suit their priorities.
At the NATO headquarters in Brussels, a Turkish diplomat greeted a passing delegation in his mother tongue. “They are Albanian diplomats. They are the F type,” he told me. By “F type,” he meant that they were graduates of the schools in Albania run by followers of Fethullah Gülen, Turkey’s most influential cleric.
Many Gülen-affiliated schools were established in the post-Cold War period, particularly in the Balkans and Central Asia, and later in Africa. At home, the Turkish secular system has long been suspicious of the movement’s religiosity, and has always kept a close eye on the Gülenists.
Nervous about the growing strength of political Islam, Turkey’s fiercely secular military-judicial elites embarked on a massive purge of the Gülenists following the military coup of 1997, which unseated the Turkish Republic’s first Islamist-led government. Gülen, who took refuge in the United States, was tried in absentia on charges of seeking to overthrow Turkey’s secular order.
But while Gülenists and their schools outlived the secularist grip on power, the movement is again coming under pressure, this time from Erdoğan’s conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. Today, some of the educational institutions run by Gülen’s followers are facing closure by the very Islamist government the movement has long supported.
The Gülen movement contributed to the consolidation of AKP governance as the two joined hands to eliminate a common foe: Turkey’s Kemalist, staunchly secularist military-judicial tutelage system. While the AKP government turned a blind eye to the growing dominance of Gülenists in key institutions, the movement helped the AKP eliminate their enemies. Gülenist institutions, such as their media outlets, supported the controversial Ergenekon case that landed hundreds of military officials and journalists perceived to be supporting the old “Kemalist” order in jail, having been convicted of plotting to topple the AKP government.
While the weakening of the old actors suited the interests of Erdoğan’s party, the Gülenists’ perceived abuse of power and infiltration of the judiciary and police started to alarm the AKP. Many trace the beginning of the falling-out to the government’s move to strengthen the National Intelligence Agency (MIT) against the police department. Erdoğan appointed one of his closest aids, Hakan Fidan, to head the MIT in 2010.
The power struggle was laid bare for the first time when a court summoned Fidan for questioning in early 2012 over talks with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Many in Turkey felt that the Gülen movement was targeting Erdoğan and displaying its discontent with the government’s policy toward the Kurdish issue.
As the main foe had been eliminated with the military under civilian control and their former civilian supporters discredited, “the partnership is over,” wrote journalist Ahmet Hakan.
The struggle has now entered a new phase after the AKP government decided to target the Gülenists’power base, the so-called prep schools that provide private courses to high school students to help them pass their university exams. They not only generate financial resources, but also serve as a recruiting ground for new followers.
Speculation abounds as to why Erdoğan has gone for this potentially risky move against the Gülenists, especially ahead of local and general elections that will take place in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
Showing increasing signs of authoritarianism, Erdoğan no longer has an appetite for sharing his power, let alone allowing any other power center to interfere with his way of governing.
Although it is a large network that controls major business, trade and publishing activities, the lack of transparency and the loose organizational structure of the Gülen movement make it hard to assess its influence on Turkish society. But Erdoğan must have calculated that the movement’s clout is smaller than what is being projected by Gülenist media outlets.
In his gamble, Erdoğan is relying on his own support base and the extremely low probability of the Gülen movement’s supporters turning to other political parties, like the Republican People’s Party or the Nationalist Movement Party, which they see as the remnants of the old Kemalist system.
The local elections in March next year will give an indication of where the struggle will lead. Some believe that there will be a temporary ceasefire until after the local elections and that the contention will flare up with the presidential elections, which are scheduled to take place in the summer.
Since Erdoğan is expected to run for the presidency, the Gülen movement might also want to show its strength by boycotting the local elections. A significant loss of votes for the AKP in the local elections might force the prime minister to mend fences with the Gülenists if he wants to secure the presidency.
All views expressed in this blog post are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, The Majalla magazine.
About the writer, Barcin Yinanc
Barçın Yinanç started her career in journalism in 1990 at Milliyet Daily, one of Turkey's major newspapers. She worked as a diplomatic reporter covering Turkish foreign policy issues, Turkey–EU relations, transatlantic ties and regional developments from the Middle East to the Caucasus. In 2001, she became a television reporter for CNN Türk, later becoming a program editor for the same channel. She is currently a columnist for the English-language newspaper Hürriyet Daily News. She lives in Istanbul.
Since its election in 2002, the ruling Turkish Justice and Development Party (AKP), under the leadership of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has transformed Turkey. The reforms initiated by this conservative government with Islamic roots have amounted to a passive revolution—they have profoundly altered Turkish society, modernized its institutions, and strengthened its economy, which is now the sixteenth-largest in the world in terms of GDP.
Yet it would be a mistake to attribute the many successes that have enhanced Turkey’s role as a major regional and international player to AKP leadership alone. Erdoğan’s government has enjoyed support from a number of political organizations as well as from influential religious and social forces within Turkey. The most invaluable, but also the hardest to assess, is a movement that plays a fundamental role in Turkey’s social and religious life: the Gülen movement of Fethullah Gülen, referred to by the terms cemaat or hizmet.
The AKP and the Gülen movement established an alliance in 2002 based on a common desire to push back the central role of the military in the country and create a new, more conservative, and more Muslim Turkey. Each brought different skills to the task—Erdoğan and his AKP colleagues were experienced in political activism and electoral politics, while the Gülen movement used education and social activism to promote its objectives. This alliance was not without disagreements, but until recently common interests outweighed differences.
During the past few months, however, tensions have deepened between Erdoğan and the Gülenists in the realms of both domestic and foreign policy, causing speculation that the alliance is headed for a fundamental break. There can be no doubt that rifts have emerged over a variety of issues, from the rising power of the Gülen movement to the increasingly authoritarian actions of the prime minister. But talk of a complete break may well be premature.
The Gülen Movement
Fethullah Gülen emerged as a religious authority in Turkey in the 1970s, and little by little he became the spiritual leader of a vast community that now boasts an estimated 3 million sympathizers. Gülen, who moved to the United States in 1999, encourages his disciples to become modern, moderate Muslims. An adherent of free markets, he champions the Islamic faith and the spirit of capitalism. He is also a nationalist, seeking to boost Turkey’s influence and prestige abroad.
Gülen relies heavily on education to transmit his ideas, and he has formed a network of hundreds of schools and businesses worldwide. This network is active on every continent, including in the United States, where his sympathizers run approximately 130 charter schools, mainly in Texas.
He focuses his efforts on educating new generations and promoting the emergence of elites who are simultaneously pious, modern, patriotic, committed to globalization, and comfortable with economic success. Like the Jesuits and other missionaries who trained Turkey’s republican, Kemalist elites to value secularism and follow a Western path through the schools they founded at the end of the Ottoman Empire, Gülen aspires to use education to help forge new generation of Anatolian, conservative elites (or counterelites) that might play a key role in creating a modern, more openly Islamic Turkey.
For this reason, Gülenists have always given great importance to the training of elites. As far back as 1998, a study on relations between Turkey and the Turkic republics of Central Asia, where Gülen’s schools represented the best of Turkish policy in the region, showed that Central Asian students who were trained at Turkish police academies returned to Central Asia very familiar with Gülen’s religious and social ideas.
After emerging from Gülen’s schools, many of these elites have assumed key positions within the Turkish administration. Gülen’s disciples are influential in key institutional bureaucracies and the media. Many hold important positions in the state apparatus, the judiciary, the educational system, and key sectors of the Turkish economy. While the movement’s representatives do not deny the presence of sympathizers within state structures, they insist that this is not the result of any strategy to infiltrate the state apparatus and instead point to the fact that these educated individuals have reached high ranks in the civil service thanks to their work ethic and perseverance.
Indeed, the Gülen movement is quick to emphasize that it is essentially religious and social, not political. In practice, however, Gülen’s community is interested in politics. But it must refrain from coming across as partisan, which could divide its members, many of whom are attracted to Gülen’s religious discourse rather than to his ideas and political initiatives.
Still, over time the presence of Gülen’s disciples in the state apparatus has given the movement a significant amount of political influence, a development that may have contributed to the AKP’s desire to form an alliance. After coming to power, the AKP offered Gülen’s community its political and, especially, its symbolic backing, publicly supporting his educational initiatives in Turkey and abroad. In exchange, the AKP benefited from the social connectedness of Gülen’s movement and from the support of the media outlets with which the movement enjoys a close relationship.
And the alliance was based on more than just pragmatic concerns. The AKP and the Gülen movement also share the same social base—the rising Anatolian middle classes, which are morally conservative, economically market-oriented, and open to globalization. In addition, the religious conservatism of the AKP and the Gülen movement is directed against a common enemy: the Turkish army and the bureaucracy, which are dominated by the Kemalist intelligentsia. This has created an unwritten pact between the two groups, bolstering their complementarity.
Gülenists have been uncharacteristically active in the public debate on a new Turkish constitution, advocating for a political system that is more parliamentarian than presidential. The movement has also organized conferences and discussions in Turkey and abroad through its prestigious Abant Platform, which aims to strengthen democracy through dialogue.
For nearly ten years, the alliance between the AKP and the Gülen movement—natural and spontaneous, for the most part—has functioned well, but it is now showing increasing fragility, exacerbated by changes in the conditions and the sociopolitical context that initially gave rise to it. Indeed, the raison d’être for this alliance—the vital need for both groups to protect themselves against the Kemalist apparatus, embodied in particular by the army—is gradually disappearing. With support from the Gülenists, the ruling AKP has considerably reduced the role and power of the army, which no longer enjoys the political prerogatives that made it even recently the true power in the country. A host of other factors have also contributed to growing tensions, and the diametrically opposed temperaments of the two leaders—Erdoğan is impetuous and hot-tempered, and Gülen is prophetically calm—do not facilitate dialogue.
The first rift between the AKP and the Gülen movement was in the foreign policy arena. As prime minister, Erdoğan has cooled relations between Turkey and Israel for political, strategic, and ideological reasons. A crisis broke out between the two countries in May 2010 when a Turkish relief organization attempted to send a flotilla of humanitarian aid to Gaza in defiance of the Israeli government’s blockade of the Gaza Strip. The Israeli navy boarded several ships of the flotilla, including the Turkish MV Mavi Marmara, and faced resistance from the activists aboard. Nine activists, including eight Turkish nationals, were killed.
Gülen publicly disapproved of the Turkish NGO’s initiative to break the Israeli blockade. He criticized the Turkish government for supporting it and distanced himself from the prime minister’s anti-Israel rhetoric. Indeed, Gülen’s community has always refrained from strongly criticizing Israel, in part because doing so would run counter to the ecumenical, interreligious discourse that has contributed to the movement’s global success. This stance also reflects the fact that the Gülen movement has a strong presence in the United States, where it enjoys backing from many friends of Israel, and this powerful American support reinforces its influence.
Gülen’s disapproval may also reflect the fact that the NGO that organized the flotilla, the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief, was close to the AKP and to some extent in competition with the Gülen movement’s own activities in the social sector.
On the domestic front, the two organizations have begun to clash with more frequency. The Turkish media report that the AKP government is increasingly annoyed and concerned that its decisionmaking power and sovereignty are being challenged by the growing influence of Gülen’s community on all government structures as well as on the police, judiciary, and public education system. But unlike the secular opposition, which responds vehemently to what the media call the infiltration of state structures by Gülen’s disciples, the AKP has reacted with restraint to avoid publicizing the emerging rivalry at the heart of the state.
READ ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE AT THE CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT