Geulen: The Ambiguous Politics of Market Islam in Turkey and the World

Geulen: The Ambiguous Politics of Market Islam in Turkey and the World

Geulen: The Ambiguous Politics of Market Islam in Turkey and the World

Geulen: The Ambiguous Politics of Market Islam in Turkey and the World

Synopsis

The "Hizmet" ("Service") Movement of Fethullah Gülen is Turkey's most influential Islamic identity community. Widely praised throughout the early 2000s as a mild and moderate variation on Islamic political identity, the Gülen Movement has long been a topic of both adulation and conspiracy in Turkey, and has become more controversial as it spreads across the world. In Gülen, Joshua D. Hendrick suggests that when analyzed in accordance with its political and economic impact, the Gülen Movement, despite both praise and criticism, should be given credit for playing a significant role in Turkey's rise to global prominence. Drawing on 14 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Turkey and the U.S., Hendrick examines the Gülen Movement's role in Turkey's recent rise, as well as its strategic relationship with Turkey's Justice and Development Party-led government. He argues that the movement's growth and impact both inside and outside Turkey position both its leader and its followers as indicative of a "post political" turn in twenty-first century Islamic political identity in general, and as illustrative of Turkey's political, economic, and cultural transformation in particular. Joshua D. Hendrick is Assistant Professor of Sociology and Global Studies at Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore.

Excerpt

Truth can be established and supported in many ways … if
a place of worship rouses its community with thoughts of
eternity, if a school awakens hope and faith in its pupils, they
are serving their purpose and therefore are sacred. If this is
not the case, they are no more than devilish traps divert
ing us from the truth. We may apply the same standards to
unions, trusts, political institutions, and societies in general.
—M. Fethullah Gülen

In a 2005 poll administered to determine “the world’s most influential public intellectual,” the U.S. political magazine Foreign Policy (FP), together with its British affiliate, Prospect, published an unranked list of one hundred people whom their editors believed to be the most impactful opinion makers, political leaders, policy advisers, activists, and scholars in the world. Included on the 2005 list were two Turkish citizens, the best-selling fiction writer Orhan Pamuk, and the longtime World Bank and United Nations economist and former Turkish parliamentarian Kemal Derviş. After twenty thousand votes were cast, Pamuk finished fifty-fourth, Derviş sixty-seventh. Self-critiqued as unscientific, the poll was hailed as a thought-provoking exercise concerning “the grand tradition of oppositional intellectuals.” When the critical philosopher Noam Chomsky won by more than 4,800 votes, the FP/Prospect editors concluded that even in the “post-ideological” era of globalization, there was still very much a market for fervent social critique and oppositional public debate (Herman 2005).

Revising their methods for generating an unranked list of one hundred influential public intellectuals, in 2008 fp and Prospect administered their poll for a second time. in his introduction to the publication . . .

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