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Gülen: Citizens do not ‘infiltrate' state posts

, October 12, 2010

Well-respected Turkish intellectual and scholar Fethullah Gülen has responded to claims that followers of the Gülen movement have infiltrated state posts - – including those of the police force, the military and others - - saying citizens of a country do not “infiltrate” the establishments that exist for the country and its citizens because it is a natural right for them to be employed in such posts.

“To urge fellow citizens to seek employment at state institutions is not called infiltration. Both the people urged and these institutions belong to the same country. … It is a right for them to be employed in state posts.

They may be employed by the military, the judiciary, intelligence departments or the Foreign Ministry. We should not forget that those who put forward such claims of infiltration, or proliferation [in state posts], and who wish to intimidate people who love their jobs are indeed the ones who have infiltrated, in every era, a variety of positions for their own ideologies by hiding behind such slander,” Gülen stated in an interview with the website

Gülen’s remarks came in response to claims by jailed Police Chief Hanefi Avcı, who argued in his recently released book “Haliç’te Yaşayan Simonlar” (Simons on the Golden Horn), that followers of the Gülen movement have infiltrated top state posts. Avcı also argued that ongoing criminal investigations aiming to confront illegal activities within the state, including the probe into Ergenekon -- a clandestine criminal network charged with plotting to overthrow the government -- lack evidence and are based on illegal wiretapping. However, a detailed investigation later showed that Avcı wiretapped dozens of individuals, mostly prominent figures, illegally. He was arrested last month on charges of aiding and abetting a terrorist organization.

Gülen said he would still never ask God to punish those who make such groundless claims against his movement and its members but added that the claims will not stand forever. He also said he was disturbed to see that followers of the Gülen movement are mentioned in relation to his name, such as “Fethullahist” or “pro-Fethullah.” According to Gülen, the volunteers of the movement serve their country, nation and humanity not because they are supporters of an individual but because they believe in the sensibleness and rationality of the service they provide to humanity. Volunteers of the Gülen movement often use the verb “serve” when referring to their voluntery acts.
‘I’ll urge for ‘yes’ if similar reform package promoted by other parties’

Gülen also underlined that his appeal for “yes” votes in the Sept. 12 referendum on the constitutional reform package did not mean to indicate any partiality on his part for a certain political party. He said he would urge voters to cast a “yes” vote at the ballot box if a similar reform package aimed at expanding rights and freedoms is prepared and promoted by other political parties and even a minor party that does not have a group in Parliament.

In a message he released in early August, Gülen said the reform package contains amendments that are critical for the future of Turkey and called on the public to vote for the package in the referendum. The package garnered almost 58 percent of the national vote on Sept. 12.

Gülen said he was delighted by the results of the referendum for the future of Turkey and its nation. “Our nation, which thinks in a more simplistic way than elites, has made a better decision than the elite. It has always been the nation which applauds democracy and shoulders all burden to improve it. This is because the nation is not stuck to a single ideology, and is not confined by the narrowness of ideologies when assessing issues. Let them [elites] continue to underestimate our nation and believe that a single vote cast by one of them is tantamount to five votes cast by a simple citizen and to think that the nation is ignorant and incapable of understanding anything. The nation has made the right decision. The outcome [of the referendum] is the result of the foresight of our nation, but not the preaching of any individual,” he maintained.

According to Gülen, everyone deserves to be respected for their choice at the ballot box.

“Even though ‘yes’ voters outnumbered others in the referendum, there were ‘no’ voters, undecided voters and protestors who did not go to the ballot box. There have always been people who have different opinions from others, and there will always be such people. Respecting everyone’s thoughts and feelings is a requirement for our moral values,” he said, and explained that because of this same philosophy “yes” voters also deserve to be respected by others.

Voters who voted in favor of the constitutional amendment package became the target of harsh criticism from reform opponents. Some opponents of the reform package even accused supporters of the constitutional amendment package of “high treason.”

Gülen also called on everyone to adopt a more peaceful and tolerant language when speaking about others. “Everyone should revise their discourse. They should quit shouting at others and giving into to frantic behavior. Instead, they should adopt a softer and more loving discourse. We should never forget that screaming and a frantic attitude only trigger hatred, not love,” he concluded.

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