By Sedar Ergin
I don’t want to spoil it for you but the finale of this will be: “Unless measures are taken,” a warning from years ago that signalled what is likely to happen.
It was exactly 13 years ago at a National Security Council (MGK) meeting on June 24, 2004, when a topic about “Fethullah Gülen” was being debated, the Office of the General Staff made an assessment on the threat posed by the Gülen group, which concluded: “In parallel with these developments, the Gülen group will appear in total peace with the current system and while looking, will place its members on all levels of government positions by way of sneakily seizing the system; they would try to topple the secular, democratic and social law state and, in place of it, form a state order based on religious principles, if no measures are taken against this. It is assessed that the group will progressively continue its activities.”
In this presentation done at the MGK meeting with then-Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Özkök attending, one of the strongly-emphasized aspects was the target of the Gülen group to place its members at all units of the state, especially the Education Ministry, the police and the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).
These two paragraphs especially point out the strategy of the Gülen community of hiding their intentions and misleading. “The aforementioned group is sending out ‘Tolerance and Peace’ messages according to this strategy and they are hiding their intention - under the disguise of a moderate image - that when they reach the situation where no force would make them take a step backward, they will topple the current regime and replace it with a regime based on religious principles.”
“Knowing that it would be quite destructive to reach their aims by fighting against the state, they prefer a policy of being at peace with the state, but inwardly are seizing it, instead of being in controversy with the system.”
In this framework, several striking quotes are included from Fethullah Gülen’s sermons on the final target of the community in this presentation by the military to the MGK meeting, which was then submitted to the Parliamentary Inquiry Commission by daily Posta writer journalist Nedim Sener.
“Every step is an early step until we find our exact soul, until we thicken, until we accumulate the power to shoulder the world, until we grab all the things that represent that power, until the moment we are able to draw the power and strength in all constitutional institutions to our front. Any step taken before that would be like breaking a [hatched] egg before it expires its 20 days,” these were Gulen’s words in one of these quotes.
Later, the concept of “parallel state” appears which would later become the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) official discourse, in the military presentation: “The organization structure of the mentioned group is an alternative structure to the state. In this structuring, Gülen is at the top and continues a sequence to the individual. The group’s organization and activities have ‘a state within a state’ feature.”
In the same MGK meeting, the findings of the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) in its presentation about the role attributed to the Gülen community within the framework of the “Greater Middle East Project” and “Moderate Islam” are reiterated to a great extent in their assessments of the Office of the General Staff.
In the presentation text, attention is drawn to the U.S.’s search for a model: “Within this framework, in the 1980s, within the scope of the ‘Green Belt’ theory, the U.S. tried to surround the socialist bloc with an Islamic belt from the south; the Greater Middle East Project that has emerged today is also based on the same theory but is covering certain African and Asian countries. When this is taken into consideration, it is evaluated that Gülen would be supported and regarded as an example of moderate Islam in line with the aims of this project.”
From this presentation, it can also be understood that then-U.S. State Secretary Colin Powell’s reference of Turkey as an “Islamic Republic” on April 1, 2004, created a serious discomfort. These words of Powell are reminded as: “With regards to Turkey, which has a key position within the scope of the Greater Middle East Project, a similar role could have been planned for Gülen like the return of Ayatollah Khomeini to Iran after the circumstances were prepared. In the case that the U.S. Secretary of State’s reference to Turkey as an ‘Islamic Republic’ is a U.S. policy, in this case the moderate Islam mentality brought by the role trying to be attributed to Turkey within the Greater Middle East Project does not comply with our current religion and state mentality and constitutes major conflicts.”
The presentation of the Turkish military continues with the theme of moderate Islam and finishes with the paragraph ending with “Unless measures are taken…”
The value of documents and presentations together with the predictions mentioned in them are much clearer in the face of history when checked through with incidents that occurred afterwards.