Is Gülen a Turkish nationalist?

Gülen has been defined as nationalist but when analyzed in detail it will be seen that he cannot be a nationalist for various reasons. First of all, as an observant Muslim, he can only be a patriot and love his people but this cannot be to the exclusion of others.

Is Gülen a Turkish nationalist?

Dr. Ihsan Yilmaz

Gülen has been defined as nationalist but when analyzed in detail it will be seen that he cannot be a nationalist for various reasons. First of all, as an observant Muslim, he can only be a patriot and love his people but this cannot be to the exclusion of others. Secondly, he has followers and sympathizers all over the world, including many Kurds in Turkey. A nationalist stance would deter all these people. Third, one of his intellectual predecessors, Said Nursi, was a Kurd and Gülen has Kurdish friends in his close circle. Overwhelming majority of Gülen’s close friends is from Western Anatolia, a region that is not known for its strong nationalist sentiments unlike several inner Anatolian cities. Last but not the least, whenever Gülen talks positively about Turks, he makes clear that the main reason of his respect is Turks’ heroic service to the cause of Islam. Any nation that fares better will be appreciated by Gülen as he appreciates and admires past successful eras of several non-Turkish Muslim individuals and nations such as Abbasids and so on.

Source: Yilmaz, Ihsan. 2011. “Beyond Post-Islamism: Transformation of Turkish Islamism Toward ‘Civil Islam’ and Its Potential Influence in the Muslim World,” European Journal of Economic and Political Studies, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 260-61.

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