Deutsche Welle‘s Chase Winter writes on the history of Fethullah Gülen and the AKP, the emergence of the Gülenist transnational movement, and the ties linking the US-based cleric to Turkey’s failed coup attempt:
[Gülenists’] claims run up against many skeptics who point to major contradictions between what the movement says and what how it has behaved in the past. Its growth from a small group of followers to a global movement with vast resources and power has spawn concern it has far greater ambitions.
Gulen affiliated businesses and donations from so-called “sympathizers” help support its activities. However, the opaqueness of its funding and infiltration of the state has for years made it the target of secular suspicion about its motives to establish an Islamic-inspired state.
“No one has managed to reveal the financial and administrative backbone of the organization that organizes their activities and money flow and that ties the foundations to each other,” said Jenny White, a Professor at Stockholm University’s Institute for Turkish Studies author of “Muslim Nationalists and the New Turks.”
As Dani Rodrik, a top economist at Harvard and an expert on Gulen and the coup trials has noted, “it should be clear to any objective observer that the Gulen movement goes much beyond the schools, charities, and inter-faith activities with which it presents itself to the world: it also has a dark underbelly engaged in covert activities such as evidence fabrication, wiretapping, disinformation, blackmail, and judicial manipulation.”