Headlines or Weapons of Mass Destruction?

By Begum Burak

The Dec. 17, 2013 graft and corruption probe will most probably be regarded as a milestone in Turkish politics for researchers in the future. The Dec. 17 operation and its aftermath have revealed how the sine quo non dynamics of democracy like the rule of law, freedom of speech or press freedom have been sacrificed to ensure the “supreme interests of the state” and to guarantee the privileges of the political elites.


Who is behind the Pennsylvania Protests?

Aydogan Vatandas reveals the true identity and deep connections of the Pennsylvania protesters.

The most important message of last summer's Gezi protests in Turkey was that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's government had lost its legitimacy in the eyes of some segments of Turkish society.
While some of the members of the government received this message, Erdoğan himself interpreted the protests as a coup attempt against himself. He called the protesters “looters” on the one hand, and on the other he said they were an extension of some Western powers that aim to overthrow his government.


WSJ Interview with Fethulah Gulen

Joe Parkinson and Jay Solomon

1.       The Prime Minister has repeatedly attacked you and Hizmet in recent weeks. Do you believe that your alliance with his faction of the AKP is now definitively at an end?
If we can talk about an alliance, it was around shared values of democracy, universal human rights and freedoms — never for political parties or candidates. In 2010 constitutional referendum I said that if these democratic reforms, which are in line with European Union’s requirements for membership, were done by CHP before, I would have supported them.


Academic Freedom in Turkey Under Seige

Michael Shank, Ph.D., wrote a nice piece. Again!..
It appears that Fethullah Gülen, a U.S.-based Islamic preacher from Turkey who promotes peace and tolerance, and the schools associated with his religious Hizmet movement can't get a break.

They were first targeted in America, via discrimination aimed at the Turkish American community centered on his educational efforts, which was initially identified in the Center for American Progress' report "Fear Inc: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America." The report found a well-financed, well-organized network of advocates, experts and media partners conducting a strategic campaign throughout America and "spreading hate and misinformation," as CAP put it.

The new supposed Turkish threat to America: "Muslim Gülen schools, which [members of the Islamophobia network] claim would educate children through the lens of Islam and teach them to hate Americans."


Bill Gates the Founder of Gulen Charter Schools

Appeared on Harmony Parent...

Here is some nostalgia for you. After seeing Harmony Schools were awarded with the $30M federal grant, those attackers must be very regret about their previous hilarious postings.
After reading a so-called Gulen Charter School blog linking Bill Gates to the Ottoman Empire and then to the Harmony schools, I couldn’t help but laugh hard. Some blogs are calling those publicly funded charter schools as Gulen charter schools, and claim that Bill Gates funds terrorism. A good example of how a blog can take the issue to the extreme points…


Gulen Charter Schools: A New Fictitious Phenomenon

Dr. Kurt wrote a wonderful article about the endless-controversy on Gulen Charter Schools. The article clearly debunks the groundless claims about the non-existent concept of “Gulen Charter Schools”. The style of Dr. Kurt while refuting the concept is very convincing and well-founded. He calmly and comfortably steps up in the absence of the advocates and presents his case. Keep up the good work Dr. Kurt. 

Joint Mosque-Cemevi Project Will Contribute to Peace in Turkey

Gulen Movement contributes to the internal peace process in Turkey.

Protests against a joint mosque-cemevi (Alevi house of worship) complex project are meaningless because the project will help alleviate tensions between Alevis and Sunnis in Turkey, Alevi community leaders said on Monday.

An Interview with Fethullah Gulen that You Won't See in the Hate Media

I read an interview with Fethullah Gulen that is hard to find in the hate media, because the reporter is not "pursuing something to create sensation" or she is not after to make a self-promotion. Jamie Tarabay of NPR visited Fethullah Gulen in his place and asked many brave questions along with the clear answers.  

A Rare Meeting With Reclusive Turkish Spiritual Leader Fethullah Gulen

The Atlantic: It's so rare to have an interview with you, why is that?

Fethullah Gulen: I grew up in a humble family with a shy personality. I accept these kind offers out of respect for those who are requesting such interviews, otherwise, I would prefer to live a secluded life just by myself.

Hilarious Claim: A Gulen-Inspired School in Iran

"First of all, that is not something I found out. It seems it was first published in another blog first, but that is something I would not want to miss. Then what is about? It is about a piece of news about a never-happened incident in a never-existed school! The source all goes back to an unreliable Iranian news agency. Some notorious Turkish websites and channels pick up the news and later on realized that this thing was just something bogus. Among other false allegations and libels, this one seemed to be another blatant lie. Read and laugh..." 
Several months ago, a breaking news appeared on some media outlets. According to that news, a Gulen-inspired school in Iran (!) was raided and 83 CIA agents (!) were arrested (!) in the school. It is a rare talent to be able make three mistakes in one sentence.


JWF Responds to Slanderous Accusations about the Gulen Movement

The Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV) has responded to a series of controversial claims and slanderous accusations made about the Hizmet movement which the foundation said are designed to pit the government against the movement and create tension between the two.


Fethullah Gulen Receives Korean Peace Award

Well-respected Turkish intellectual and scholar Fethullah Gülen was awarded the Manhae Peace Prize for his contributions to world peace at a ceremony held in South Korea on Sunday.

Among the prominent recipients of the Manhae awards since they were first presented in 1997 are former South African President Nelson Mandela, exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and Iranian rights advocate Shirin Ebadi.


An Anatomy of Copycat Blogs-3: Fethullah Gulen Has $25 Billon

It is always mentioned in defamatory blogs and websites that Fethullah Gulen or the Gulen Movement is worth $25 billion. For the last three to four years, this amount has not changed at all. I wish the attackers could have made some inflation-related adjustments. It is interesting that nobody shows any evidence with regards to this amount. Where do you guys get your sources?

These are random things that I found on the web.


An Armenian Columnist Weighs on Ergenekon Terrorist Organization

Why is Ergenekon a political case?

Markar Esayan, the Armenian columnist, .

The discussions have resurfaced, as in the Balyoz coup case, after the issuance of the verdicts in the Ergenekon trial. I suppose this is not a proper opening sentence. It would be proper if I say that the discussions had started on June 12, 2007, when the initial phase of operations in connection with the Ergenekon investigation was held.


Ergenekon Suspects Get Lengthy Sentences

On Monday, Ilker Basbug, former chief of general staff, was sentenced to life along with almost 300 defendants who were sentenced to various terms ranging from life to a few years. The suspects were accused of plotting to overthrow the government


An Anatomy of Copycat Blogs-2: When did Fethullah Gulen Come to USA?

Some bloggers claim that "Gulenists create confusion by putting different years" with regards to Fethullah Gulen's arrival to USA. Yet in reality, it is those copycat bloggers who mostly claim that Fethullah Gulen came to US in 1998, which is not the accurate date. Let's see what some "experts" say about this:

For example, in Sibel Edmond's blog we see this statement:


An Anatomy of Copycat Blogs-1: Fethullah Gulan or Fethullah Gulen?

When some bloggers first launched an attack on Fethullah Gulen, Gulen Movement or so-called Gulen Charter Schools, they got their inspiration and information from foreign sources, especially the ones with Islamophobic or ultra-nationalist Turkish ties. As a result, we have seen a lot of hilarious mistakes and errors in these blogs ranging from factual errors to spelling mistakes and misinformation.


Fethullah Gulen in TIME's 100 Influential People

Fethullah Gulen has been featured on TIME, which regularly lists 100 influential people over the world every year. Stephen Kinzer wrote the introductory piece for Fethullah Gulen. Kinzer mentioned Gulen's moderate philosophy and the schools that were opened by his followers. Kinzer also stated that Fethullah Gulen is a very significant moderate figure in the Muslim world. Below is the press release appeared on the Wall Street Journal.

"Mr. Fethullah Gulen has been named as one of TIME Magazine's 100 most influential people in the world in 2013. TIME recognized Gulen for "preaching a message of tolerance that has won him admirers around the world." The 2013 TIME 100 includes other noted world leaders such as Pope Francis, Aung San Suu Kyi, Malala Yousafzai and President Obama. In the past, TIME has honored global leaders such as the Dalai Lama and Pope Benedict XVI in their TIME 100 list.

The press release continues at WSJ."   


A Letter Dedicated to Dani Rodrik

An Interesting Letter

"Dani Rodrik, a fervent attacker of Fethullah Gulen and Gulen Movement as well as charter schools which he calls Gulen Charter Schools, would probably be surprised to see this article. Sometimes things do not go in the way you think, Mr. Rodrik. Just take a look at the statements here and you will see that innocent looking people were actually hiding their real agenda. A very interesting read..."


Top-notch School isn’t Marred by Loose Ties to Turkish Cleric

Below you will see how the anti-charter groups' claims have been refuted.

SHOULD MASSACHUSETTS be afraid of Fethullah Gulen? That’s the question at the heart of the whispering campaign against the Pioneer Charter School of Science, a high-achieving public school in Everett whose loose connections to the influential Turkish religious figure came under heightened scrutiny when it sought state permission to expand to a second location in Saugus.


Fethullah Gulen's Poems Turned into Songs

This is interesting and good news. Apparently, some musicians from all over the world have come together and recorded an album where they sang the poems of Fethullah Gulen.  

Artists from twelve different countries composed music for poems written by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who is known for his global message of peace and inter-faith tolerance, for an album titled “Colors of Peace-Rise Up” to promote peace and tolerance.

Dani Rodrik for the Last Time

Etyen Mahcupyan continues to reveal the truth about Dani Rodrik, the renowned son-in-law of Cetin Dogan, prominent member of Ergenekon Terrorist Organization.

It is quite natural for a person to exhibit extra sensitivity and subjectivity toward a specific topic when it concerns his relatives. We can understand such a person if we come to accept that we should be more tolerant toward them and put ourselves in their place. At the beginning, many people in Turkey shared this approach for Dani Rodrik, a successful academic with international fame and a scholar known to be an advocate of democratic values. But he had come face-to-face with a very unexpected situation.


The Sledgehammer Facts

Although the Sledgehammer (Balyoz) trial, in which the defendants stood accused of attempting to overthrow the democratically elected government in 2003, was concluded on Sept. 21 by the İstanbul 10th High Criminal Court at the 108th hearing of the case, debates surrounding the Sledgehammer trial still continue. This is why there is merit in summarizing the major developments in the case.


Dani Rodrik's Facts

Just hours after my article that referred to Dani Rodrik was posted on the Internet, Rodrik issued a response in his blog "Balyoz Davası ve Gerçekler" (Balyoz Trial and Facts). Apparently urged by a sense of duty, Rodrik naturally didn't want to lose any time in correcting my “misstatements.”

Who Conspired Against Dani Rodrik?

When the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in the elections held in early November 2002, the military decided to take some action. In the following months, Çetin Doğan, the former head of the 1st Army, sent faxes where he made analogies between the AKP’s election victory and the Nazis coming to power; he sent these documents directly from his office.

Response to Hatchet Job on Fethullah Gulen

When Fethullah Gulen published his article on Financial Times, I was expecting a response from the infamous Islamophobes or those who happen to be in close connection with them. My prediction came true with the latter. Stephen Schwartz, who always seems to attack the mainstream Muslims in the U.S., published a incendiary and biased article in response to that of Mr. Gulen. Mr. Schwartz was mostly busy with attacking Mr. Gulen than criticizing the content of Mr. Gulen's article. He even brought that fallacious Gulen Charter Schools concept to the table again. Anyway, a timely and nice response came from Dr. Scott Alexander.  


Federal Government Helps so-called Gulen Charter Schools!

By Goose Network Blog

I read the news (seems a bit late, though) that Harmony Public Schools will receive almost 30 million dollars from the federal government as part of the race-to-the-top program. That should be a well-deserved accomplishment considering that Harmony Public Schools became a nationwide brand after they were featured at 60 Minutes.


Harmony Public Schools to Receive $30M Federal Fund

From Goose Network

I read the news (seems a bit late, though) that Harmony Public Schools will receive almost 30 million dollars from the federal government as part of the race-to-the-top program. That should be a well-deserved accomplishment considering that Harmony Public Schools became a nationwide brand after they were featured at 60 Minutes.


60 Minutes, Fethullah Gulen and Gulen Charter Schools

60 Minutes created some buzz and a number of comments were made over the topic. One interesting observation came from Dr. Kurt and here is the part of his comments about Fethullah Gulen and the newly-coined phenom Gulen Charter Schools:

Hot-Topic Question at Yahoo Answers

The hot-topic of Gulen Charter Schools was asked as a question at Yahoo. I added the links here in this page.

Question was simple and the answer also looks brilliant: