A Turkish prosecutor in İzmir, investigating the financial links of the Gülen movement, which is inspired by the views of US-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, has claimed that the organizational structure of the group is the same as that of the Mormon Church and the Church of Scientology in the United States and that all three groups were founded by US intelligence agency the CIA.
According to the state-owned Anadolu news agency, İzmir public prosecutor Zafer Dur prepared an indictment claiming that the CIA has organized these sects as nongovernmental organizations in order to “make changes to society.” Dur claimed that it wouldn’t have been possible for the 75-year-old Gülen, a primary school graduate, to have built up such a large organization in the areas of education, health, politics, technology and culture and infiltrated vital state organizations through his own efforts and abilities alone.
“Without international backing, Gülen could not have opened schools in 160 countries,” Dur asserted.
The Gülen movement, popularly known as the Hizmet movement — a civil society initiative inspired by Gülen’s teachings promoting worldwide interfaith dialogue, peace and tolerance — is facing an intensive government witch-hunt, especially after a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15. A large number of schools, educational institutions and companies have been seized due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement, as the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and President Erdoğan accuse the movement being behind the coup attempt. Erdoğan also accuses sympathizers of the Gülen movement in the state bureaucracy of having launched a graft investigation in December 2013 that exposed the government’s involvement in corruption.
Erdoğan and the AKP government have made the Gülen movement a scapegoat for every crime in Turkey, and as recently as Tuesday Erdoğan claimed that it was Gülen who landed Turkey in trouble in Syria and Iraq as well as causing a deterioration of relations with the EU and the West.
The prosecutor also established a link between the arrest of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan in 1999 and Gülen moving to the US that same year. “Investigative journalists have been reporting that [Gülenists] worked as contractors for foreign intelligence services such as the CIA, MI6 and BND and infiltrated the intelligence services of other countries while acting in the name of the services they worked for,” read the indictment.
Erdoğan in public speeches previously accused sympathizers of the Gülen movement of working with the CIA and MOSSAD, and contrary to this, while addressing Western media and secular audiences in Turkey, he accused the movement of aiming to take control of his government in order to establish a regime similar to those in Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Gülen and his sympathizers have continuously denied Erdoğan’s accusations since no concrete evidence of any of the above-mentioned crimes has ever been brought before a court. Erdoğan even rejected a proposal by Gülen to form an international committee to investigate July’s failed coup in Turkey in order to ascertain the perpetrators. Tens of thousands of people including bureaucrats, military officers, journalists and civilians have been purged by the AKP government since the 2013 corruption investigation, an operation that has speeded up since the July 15 coup attempt.