21 July 2016
Last week’s military coup attempt in Turkey is likely to have a debilitating impact on Turkish democracy. Already, several thousand military officials and bureaucrats have been arrested. Even more perturbing, more than 2,000 judges were removed from their jobs. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has squarely blamed the coup on the popular Hizmet movement, led by Turkish imam and philosopher Fethullah Gulen.
Since 2013, the Hizmet movement has been targeted by the Justice and Development Party (AKP)-led government after Mr Gulen spoke out against the alleged corruption of Mr Erdogan and his family.
The central tenet of the Gulen movement is the idea of moderation. Mr Gulen explains that this moderation stems from the unique experiences of the Turkish (Anatolian) Muslims, who had peacefully (and willingly) converted to Islam. The conversion occurred via the Turkic people of Central Asia, who had adapted Islam to their own culture, as opposed to Arab culture.
This Islam was heavily influenced by Sufism, Islam’s spiritual aspect that emphasises inclusivity and tolerance. Mr Gulen believes that “Turkish Islam” has much to offer the world, as it allows for the creation of a civic-minded, tolerant, peaceful and forward-looking “golden generation” of Muslims — a view that gained credence in the West particularly after the 9/11 attacks in the United States.
… Mohamed Nawab Osman is Assistant Professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies and Coordinator of the School’s Seminar Series on Muslim Societies in Asia. He has published extensively on the Gulen movement in Southeast Asia. He recently completed an article on the Gulen Movement in Malaysia.
GPO / IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 21/07/2016