What kind of a change does Fethullah Gülen offer?

What kind of a change does Fethullah Gülen offer?

Doğu Ergil

Gülen offers his followers a Turkish renaissance. The caveat for this renaissance, however, is that it can only happen in a society, which has achieved peace and tranquility. Most people are attracted to the idea of civil law through consensus rather than imposing; ethics and morality based on acceptance, not forcing; and an understanding of solidarity, not based on favor but working hard, producing, and sharing; and the suggestion on top everything that the individual is responsible for the entire society as well as for himself. What is offered is not “a nation of the state,” but the idea of an [social] order and a nation based on the citizens’ partnership. (1)

According to Gülen, the chaos and turmoil has spread on earth because of the lack of morality. High quality education is needed for this reason: to eradicate the seeds of discord spreading in societies and to make the climate of love dominant again; to teach goodness, beauty, and truth, in addition to knowledge. What is needed are “men of ideal.”

Gülen then names the people around him with this title [men of idea] and adds:

“We have been searching for the ways to form this ideal society [awaited for centuries] and we have been resorting to every possible avenue. We have been struggling desperately in order to realize it. Let us see how long more we will struggle?” (2)

The message and the work of Fethullah Gülen [and the Gülen movement] should be assessed within this framework. And, what is the secret of his success?

The answers may be found in interviews with him, in his writings as well as books and articles by researchers, which are results of sociological and other scientific analyses. This website tries to offer excerpts from such analyses.


(1) Ergil, Doğu. 2012. Fethullah Gülen & The Gülen Movement in 100 Questions. New York: Blue Dome Press. Page 18.

(2) ibid. Pages 186-187

Prof. Dr. Dogu Ergil has received his BA degree in Psychology and Sociology at Ankara University to be followed by an MA degree at Oklahoma University in Sociology (Social Psychology minor) and a Ph D in Development Studies, an interdisciplinary program composed of Political Science, Political Economy and Sociology, at the State University of New York at Binghamton.

He returned to Turkey to teach first at the Middle East Technical University and later at the Ankara University. He became a full professor and the chairperson of the Department of Political Behavior at the Faculty of Political Science of the latter University.

Dr. Ergil wrote twenty-two books, many of which in Turkish. He has contributed many book chapters and articles in many countries and prestigious international journals.

He has been awarded with British Council Fellowship that enabled him to be a visiting Professor at the London School of Economics, the Fulbright Fellowship that gave him the chance of being a visiting scholar at the School of Advanced International Studies (Washington DC). Additionally he was awarded with research fellowships by the Winston Foundation for World Peace and later twice (1999-2000 and 2005-2006) by the National Endowment for Democracy (Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellowship). The New School for Social Research University in New York has also honored him with the renowned “University in Exile” democracy and human rights award in 2000.

Prof. Dr. Doğu Ergil is currently teaching at the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at Fatih University in Istanbul. Ergil has worked with several NGOs on developing more effective leadership, conflict management, and creative problem solving.

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