04 January 2017
Fallen from grace
The Gülen Movement in Turkey: the politics of Islam and modernity
In the aftermath of the failed coup of 15 July last year, there were reports in the Turkish media of the arrest of people who were burying books far from prying eyes. The offending volumes had been authored by Fethullah Gülen, the reclusive preacher and leader of the religious nationalist Hizmet network, which President Erdogan deemed to have masterminded in the attempt to overthrow him.
Gülen and the ruling Justice and Development Party, in power since 2002, had once been allies. Tensions arose, initially on ideological grounds, but it was the growing influence wielded within the state apparatus and the conservative media by Gülen’s followers that the increasingly authoritarian Erdogan became progressively wary of.
Caroline Tee’s study is a welcome addition to the literature on the Gülen movement at a crucial moment in its history. Most of Tee’s research was carried out in Turkey between 2013 and 2015, when the already strained relations between the allies reached a crisis point after prosecutors, allegedly linked to Gülen, launched anti-corruption operations against leading figures of the ruling party.
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