The coup attempt against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has laid bare the self-exiled Fethullah Gülen's twisted doctrine as well as the Gülen Movement's hidden agenda.
The world knows Gülen as an enigmatic Turkish Muslim scholar who has stated in his books that he believes in science, interfaith dialogue and democracy.
His movement's public profile is defined primarily by a worldwide network of schools, universities, dialogue centers and organizations that it operates, yet little is known about the inner workings of their educational structure, raising the question of how the movement became one of the most powerful Islamic organizations in the world.
This mysterious question has now found an answer in respect to Turkey. They have built a parallel state. Gülen's followers were often clean-shaven and English-speaking individuals educated in the West, which allowed them to enter the judiciary and police without attracting the attention of the secularist establishment during the 1990s and 2000s. Despite their image of breaking stereotypes of Muslims, it has since been revealed that they set up a huge network within the state lead by outsiders like "judiciary imams" or "police imams," who are members of a big chain with a hierarchy of imams loyal to their leaders, Gülen, "imam of the Cosmos."
Many people now agree that Gülen psychologically manipulates his followers to ensure control and the Gülenists work to create a public image that totally contradicts reality.
As a matter of fact, the movement and its leader, who likes to talk to Western media and reiterate his commitment to democracy again and again, are defining themselves quite different in Turkey. Their discourse on Turkish and English media was as different as black and white for a long time with regards to matters of religion, democracy and freedoms. Gülen's furious sermon posted online of him and his followers cursing Erdoğan and asking Allah to "burn down their houses, spoil the peace in their homes, break their unities," was also in contradiction with the movement's self-promoting characteristics of "tolerance" and "love."
He and his followers think that Allah has chosen them and that Turkey has been promised to them by Allah. He tends to be absolute by bandying myths about himself.
He pretends as if he sees and meets with angels or the Prophet Mohammed often visits their organizations. According to Latif Erdoğan, his former right-hand man, Gülen said to some of his followers that he was talking to Allah one day and Allah said to him "I created the world for Muhammad but am sustaining it for you."
Some of Gülen's followers think he is the Mahdi, or even the Messiah as a result of confusing things due to a mix of strict Islamic rules and interfaith dialogue. His ideas are promoted instead of those of Muhammad, which of course ensures that no one can question him, no one can engage in rational deliberation and everyone has to submit to his rule even if he is wrong.
It seems that we will see many more skeletons in his closet as they try to bring down Prime Minister Erdoğan.