Kenneth Rapoza, a contributor to the Forbes magazine, penned an article about the controversial Gülen movement published on Sunday. In the piece, the writer quoted a former Gülenist whom he said spoke on the condition of anonymity as likening the movement to a cross between Islam and Scientology, a newly founded corporation-owned religion the members of which have come under fire for having infiltrated into state institutions in many countries.
Rapoza said in the piece the former follower of the movement- the members of which have been embedded in key posts of the Turkish state and defined by many Turkish state institutions as the "FETÖ/PDY", which stands for "Gülenist Terror Organization / Parallel State Structure" in records- was part of the group since middle school but left it in college because he was "too busy to adhere to the group's objectives of volunteerism."
"Their goal is to indoctrinate the best and the brightest who will eventually get careers in law, or in the military, or in politics. They're too new in the United States to have gotten that far. But of course they would like to," he was quoted as saying in the article.
The author also detailed the illegal acts ofthe organization in the article, mentioning a case filed against the leader of the group, Fetullah Gülen, a fugitive preacher who has lived in self-imposed exile since 1999 in a relative obscurity at a compound in Saylorsburg, a small town in rural Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains. Rapoza said that the case was filed against him on December 7 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania under a statute allowing foreigners allegedly harmed by individuals residing in the U.S. to face civil trial.
Touching upon the secretive nature of the controversial movement, the writer stated that the Los Angeles Times daily paid a visit last year to the compound where Gülen lives, but "couldn't get a word out of him." Mentioning another attempt to have information about the group, he said that Forbes reached out to two U.S. based Gülenist institutions, one of which reportedly responded. Harun Çelik from the Gülen-affiliated Hampden Charter School of Science in Chicopee, Massachusetts, was quoted as denying any sort of connection to the group. The author also said that Çelik did not want to discuss Gülen with him.
"Based on American court records, Gülen's businesses are valued between $20 billion to $50 billion worldwide," he added, further explaining the group's secret agenda.
"His non-profits, including the schools, also make political donations. If they do not do so directly, then the movement's followers do instead, including the presidential campaigns on the Democratic side," he said.
Touching upon the aim of the free trips organized by Gülenists for U.S. Congressmen, he underlined that the movement wants to have more influence on the congress. "Many politicians have been on the receiving end of funds and free trips to Turkey. It made sense," he added.
Mentioning Gülen's pro-American stance, he said that the former imam has been quoted as saying he wouldn't do anything to undermine America's interests in the Middle East, or its relationship with Turkey.
Rapoza further added that Andrew Durkovic, an attorney with Amsterdam & Partners, a law firm employed by Turkey to assist in the global investigation into the Gülen Movement, said that Gülen is "after power in Turkey."
"He would like to overthrow Erdoğan," he was also quoted as saying in the article.
"Money is also a motivation. In 2013, the Texas charter schools alone, Gulen's groups generated over $200 million in revenue," Durkovic told Rapoza in the piece, further adding that the money is used to "bribe and coerce a sovereign nation from the United States."
Touching upon the MİT trucks case purported by Gülenists to further spread the slander that "Turkey supports the Daesh terrorist organization," Durkovic explained the secret agenda behind the incident.
"The recent seizure of purported Turkish weapons at the Syrian border, for example, was orchestrated by Gülenists inside the Turkish government, and begs the question of how the entire confrontation was caught on video," he said.
Rapoza also claimed that Gülen is considered by his followers to be the "12th Imam," a concept of Shia Islam standing for the "Second Coming" that will unite all of Islam.
"If Gülen's words weren't so peaceful, the wealthy businessman-preacher would be just as much as a worry here as he is in Turkey," he added.
Mentioning the global aims of the group, Rapoza said that Gülen has operations in over 100 countries, and some states have banned affiliated institutions. "They have been watched closely by the Russian government for over 10 years," he said, adding that over 20 Turkish Gülenists were deported from Russia between 2002 and 2004. Rapoza also said that Pakistan is now watching the group closely.
Mentioning President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's remarks about Gülen's extradition from the United States, he quoted Erdoğan as saying "I told Obama that the person who is responsible for the unrest in Turkey lives in your country, in Pennsylvania. I told him 'I expect what's necessary to be done.' You have to take the necessary stance if someone threatens my country's security."
The Gülen Movement led by fugitive preacher Fetullah Gülen has been defined as the FETÖ/PDY, which stands for "Gülenist Terror Organization / Parallel State Structure" in records by many Turkish state institutions including Istanbul Police Department. The "parallel state" is a group of Gülenist bureaucrats and senior officials embedded in key posts of the country's institutions, including the judiciary and the police.
The 17-25 December 2013 coup attempt the group carried out revealed the fact that the clandestine network run by U.S.-based ex-imam Fetullah Gülen is responsible for having masterminded a plot to overthrow the then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's democratically elected Turkish government.
Fetullah Gülen has also been listed as a wanted terrorist by the Turkish Interior Ministry.