As I read you started to research about Gulen Cemaat when you came to Turkey for a conference. What was the thing that attracted your interest about Gulen and his members?
- WE: I am a geopolitical researcher and author now for more than thirty years. My prime theme is geopolitics or how power is organized in our world by whom, to what aim. When I was invited to Turkey on a speaking tour for one of my books, a Turkish journalist who since has become a trusted friend suggested if I wanted to understand what was going on in Turkey, a country I have long considered to have a far more positive role than she has played within NATO, I should look deeply into the Gülen Cemaat. That began a long process as I began to realize the deeper agenda behind the façade of Rumi that Gülen and his people project.
- Our first knowledge about Gülen is, his struggle against communism via a foundation (which was a NATO agenda indeed). So could we say that Gülen and his CIA relationship started long ago?
- WE: Yes, all evidence suggests that NATO Turkish Gladio networks picked up Gülen as a potentially useful asset years ago. As their agenda changed with the collapse of the Soviet Union, their role for Gülen changed as well and doors were opened for him to play that role.
Unlike the CIA’s Mujahideen Jihadists like Hekmatyar in Afghanistan or Naser Oric in Bosnia, the CIA decided to give Fethullah Gülen a radically different image. No blood-curdling, head-severing, human-heart-eating Jihadist. No, Fethullah Gülen was presented to the world as a man of “peace, love and brotherhood,” even managing to grab a photo Op with Pope John Paul II, which Gülen featured prominently on his website. The Gülen organization in the US hired one of Washington’s highest-paid Public Relations image experts, George W. Bush’s former campaign director, Karen Hughes, to massage his “moderate” Islam image.
The ideas and manipulations of the CIA and US State Department are collapsing everywhere today, but they are blinded by their own arrogance. Just look at their absurd mess they created with the neo-nazis in Ukraine.
- As it's a very conflicted subject, how do you certainly believe that Gülen and CIA work together?
- WE: This is not merely my view but that of very knowledgeable Turkish analysts and even the former Turkish MIT senior figure, Osman Nuri Gundes, former FBI Turkish-American translator Sibel Edmonds, and others have documented his deep links to very senior CIA people such as Graham Fuller. When Gülen fled Turkey to avoid prosecution for treason in 1998, he chose not to go to any of perhaps a dozen Islamic countries which could have offered him asylum. He chose instead the United States. He did so with the help of the CIA. The US State Department tried to block a special “preference visa as an alien of extraordinary ability in the field of education” permanent visa status for Gülen, arguing he was basically a fraud with a fifth grade education and no special Islam scholar. Over the objections of the FBI, of the US State Department and of the US Department of Homeland Security, three former CIA operatives intervened and managed to secure a Green Card and permanent US residency for Gülen.
- Was the relationship between Gulen and the CIA depending on both parties’ benefits? If so what were their benefits? How did CIA support Gulen to develop and grow his foundation?
- WE: Yes, clearly. For the Gülen Cemaat it enabled a vast business empire to be created which gained more and more influence by placing its people inside the police, the courts and education ministry. He could build his recruiting schools across Central Asia with CIA support. In the USA and Europe, CIA-influenced media like CNN gave him beautiful free publicity to overcome opposition to open his schools across America. For the CIA it was one more tool to destroy not only an independent secular Kemalist Turkey, but to advance their Afghan drug trade worldwide and to use Gülen’s people to destabilize opponent regimes that CIA network in Washington, the “deep state” wanted to get rid of.
On retiring from the State Department, Abramowitz served on the board of the US Congress-financed National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and was a co-founder with George Soros of the International Crisis Group. Both the NED and International Crisis Group were implicated in various US Government-backed “color revolutions” since the 1990’s collapse of the Soviet Union, from Otpor in Serbia to the 2004 Orange Revolution in Ukraine, the 2013-14 coup in Ukraine, to the 2009 Green Revolution in Iran, to the 2011 Lotus Revolution in Tahrir Square in Egypt.
Graham E. Fuller had been immersed in the CIA’s activities in steering Mujahideen and other political Islamic organizations since the 1980’s. He spent 20 years as CIA operations officer in Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Afghanistan, and was one of the CIA’s early advocates of using the Muslim Brotherhood and similar Islamist organizations like Gülen Cemaat to advance US foreign policy.
- How does CIA work via Gulen schools at Middle-Asia?
- WE: First it should be noted that Russia moved swiftly to ban the Gülen schools when the CIA began the Chechyn terror in the 1990’s. In the 1980’s when the Iran-Contra scandal broke in Washington (a scheme authored by Fuller at CIA), he “retired” to work at the CIA and Pentagon-financed RAND think-tank. There, under RAND cover, Fuller was instrumental in developing the CIA strategy for building the Gülen Movement as a geopolitical force to penetrate former Soviet Central Asia. Among his RAND papers, Fuller wrote studies on Islamic fundamentalism in Turkey, in Sudan, in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Algeria. His books praise Gülen lavishly.
Gülen was named by one former FBI authoritative source as, “one of the main CIA operation figures in Central Asia and the Caucasus.” During the 1990’s the Gülen schools then growing up across Eurasia were providing a base for hundreds of CIA agents under cover of being “native-speaking English teachers.” Osman Nuri Gundes revealed that the Gülen movement “sheltered 130 CIA agents” at its schools in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan alone in the 1990s.
- Gulen migrated from Turkey to USA at 1999, 3 days after terrorist Kurdish movement leader Abdullah Ocalan was kidnapped and brought to Turkey. What did it mean? Could Gulen co-operate better with CIA when he moved USA?
- WE: I think the CIA feared Gülen would end in prison and could be far more useful in US sanctuary where they could feed his image better and pump up his aura. Now clearly Gülen fears to return to Turkey even though he legally could. That says a lot.
- What does Gulen Foundation do for the benefits of CIA inside Turkey and Middle-East?
- WE: That would require a much longer discussion. What I find interesting is how a deep and now bitter split has emerged between Gülen Cemaat in Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. I believe Erdogan began to pursue his own agenda and that came in collision with that of the CIA and State Department for Turkey in the larger world.
- Turkish goverment AKP currently running a huge police operation against Gulen members among justice and police organisation, on the other hand, public sceptic about these operations as AKP and Gulen were also allies before november 17th corruption scandal occured. So could we say that AKP, Tayyip Erdogan and CIA were also allies once?
- WE: Turkey is a NATO member so no Turkish government is permitted for long if it tries to be independent of NATO, i.e. Washington, for long, as you know. When Erdogan began going his own way, the US networks began to demonize him in media worldwide, and Gülen media attacked him fiercely. I believe the split between Erdogan and Gülen went long before Nov. 17 scandals. Who was behind the leaking of those accusations? What was US Ambassador Francis Ricciardone doing in that regard? Interesting questions for someone.
- You say that CIA is at Gulen's side in their fight against AKP. What could CIA do to stop Erdogan and AKP?
- WE: My opinion is that was what the scandals were for, to try to prevent Erdogan’s election as President but they failed. Keep in mind the “scandal” was about how Erdogan allegedly violated US oil sanctions against Iran, so the scandals were intended to break that trade, a Washington goal.
- Anything to add...
- WE: I believe that Turkey today can play a very positive role in a new world that is emerging to replace the world of CIA wars, terror and chaos. Turkey is a geopolitical crossroads which has the possibility to play a very positive role in the emerging Eurasian system of China and Russia, the countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, in building energy and rail infrastructure. By herself, Turkey will be isolated and broken as Ukraine, and by the same people. In a principled economic and political alliance with Russia and China, she can play a pivot role in building a new world free of the debt of the collapsing Dollar System that also included the stagnating Europe. Turkey has a beautiful opportunity to partner with Russia and change the world power balance. It will require a lot of will. But if done in a good open way, Turkey could enjoy prosperity as never before and be a genuine “good neighbor.”
*For the original article (PDF) published by Cumhuriyet click here
William Engdahl, BFP contributing Author & Analyst
William Engdahl is author of A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics in the New World Order. He is a contributing author at BFP and may be contacted through his website at www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net where this article was originally published.