For example, Dan Bilefsky and Şebnem Arsu’s recent article in the International Herald Tribune (“Shadow Force Grows in Turkey,” published on April 18) about Gulen and the Hizmet Movement is a classic example of shoddy journalism that’s judgmental and less factual. It is a comically weak article, full of highly questionable characterizations and buttressed by anonymous quotations that don't actually demonstrate what they're supposed to be.
Everything aside, I want to comment on this bizarre but repeated claim that Gulen and his followers are hell-bent on infiltrating the state and taking over it with the supposed aim of establishing of a (I) conservative and a (II) shari’a based Islamic state in Turkey. There are two elements here: one represents Sebnem Arsu and other Dan Bilefsky. The third element which is always found in articles like these are those written by elements that hate Erdogan and his government and want to pick a bone with the Hizmet movement for their support of the Erdogan government. This can either be internal elements or some people who are driven by geo-political security issues.
It is interesting how the illiberal elements of yesterday are depicted as the perpetual sufferers of today as the defend an ideal; the secular ideal, while nothing is said about Turkey’s bizarre understanding of secularism, brutality against observant Muslims in their own country, against the Kurds and the minorities who were subjected to unspeakable crimes.
This battle is not about secularism. Gulen and his followers are fine with it, in fact advocate for it. What they are not fine with is military tutelage and an ideology that was experimented with in the last century and failed. What they are not fine with is less democracy, less freedom and less equality. What they are not fine with is to be subjugated to in the name of secularism while it is not.