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Gülen And Erdogan’s Islamic Rivalry And Its Consequences

Mareeg.com-Until five years ago, Fethullah Gülen and Turkey’s President Erdogan were allies who supported each other. Both use Islam as the basis for their doctrine, which made them ideologically different from the revolutionary secularist stateman Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the new Republic of Turkey in 1923.

That said, historically, the two Islamic orientations of Erdogan and Gülen were at odds with each other. The Gülen-inspired Hizmet (“service”) movement assumes and practices a Sufi version of Islam open to dialogue with other religions and believes in bottom-up change through education. Conversely, Erdogan and his Justice and Development (AK) Party embraced political Islam mostly adopted from the early Sunni Muslim Brotherhood, believing in top-to-bottom change, which they effectuated by usurping authority and forcing people to change through the state powers.

In 2011, Erdogan founded the AK Party; in the following year’s election the Party won a relative majority and Erdogan became the Prime Minister. His commitment to make Turkey a model of Islamic democracy coupled with economic development and socio-political reforms earned him overwhelming support of the Turkish people, including the followers of Gülen.

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