Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Strange Case of Fethullah Gülen

In a deposition (full transcript posted on Bradblog) for a case before the State of Ohio's Election Commission, former FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds discussed Fethullah Gülen, founder of a chain of Turkish schools in Central Asia. What she had to say was of interest, as his schools had been closed down by the Uzbek government shortly before I arrived for my Fulbright year. :
7 Q Can you tell me what practices and
8 policies that you were referring to that were
9 inimical to American interests?
10 A There's several. One is practices
11 and operations implemented from mid-1990s at
12 least until towards end of 2001 in Central
13 Asia and Caucasus, and these operations and
14 practices included Islamization of certain
15 segments of those Turkic nations, Uzbekistan,
16 Turkmenistan, Tajikistan. There are so many
17 of them in that -- in that area, and setting
18 up madrasahs and bringing in, helping bringing
19 -- at the time they were not referred to as
20 al-Qaeda until 2001, September 11th. They
21 were referred to as mujahideens from
22 Afghanistan and Pakistan into Central Asia,
Page 90
1 then to Turkey to give them passports, and
2 then funnel them in 1997, 1998 to certain
3 Eastern European countries and the Balkans.
4 And also -- and it's very broad I
5 can go on for a long time about what practices
6 and why they were -- they were against the
7 security and the interests of the Americans
8 and the lives.
9 Q Okay. Well, I don't want to
10 burden you too much, but I would like as
11 complete an answer as you can give us in terms
12 of what you were referring to.
13 A Those operations when until -- at
14 least until September 2001, and again, for
15 those operations, they corroborated and worked
16 with certain U.S. persons who were involved in
17 these operations...

(p. 94)
...14 Q Are you familiar with a person
15 named Fetullah Gulan, G-u-l-a-n?
16 A Yes.
17 Q Can you tell us who that is?
18 A My information is mainly about his
19 activities and issues that were, again, done
20 from late 1990s until I left, and then after
21 that it will be known activities here in the
22 United States. He shortly -- he was the
Page 95
1 religious activist figure in Turkey, and he
2 landed on Turkish government's wanted list and
3 was going to be persecuted for wanting to
4 throw Turkish secular government -- replace it
5 with Islamic shariah kind of type of
6 government.
7 And when he was wanted in Turkey
8 for that and he was going to go to jail, he
9 actually got on the plane and came to the
10 United States, and he was given immediately
11 visa to stay in the United States, and he has
12 been in the United States until now as far as
13 I know.
14 He has since established more than
15 300 madrasahs in Central Asia and what he
16 calls universities that have a front that is
17 called Moderate Islam, but he is closely
18 involved in training mujahideen-like militia
19 Islam who are brought from Pakistan and
20 Afghanistan into Central Asia where his
21 madrasahs operate, and his organization's
22 network is estimated to be around $25
Page 96
1 billion.
2 He has opened several Islamic
3 universities in the United States. As I said
4 it's being promoted under Moderate Islam. It
5 is supported by certain U.S. authorities here
6 because of the operations in Central Asia, but
7 what they have been doing since late 1990s is
8 actually radical Islam and militizing
9 (phonetic) these very, very young, from the
10 age 14, 15, by commandoes they use, and this
11 is both commandoes from Turkish military,
12 commandoes from Pakistani ISI in Central Asia
13 and Azerbaijan, and after that they bring them
14 to Turkey, and from Turkey they send them
15 through Europe, to European and elsewhere.
16 Up until 1999, the Turkish
17 government, also paramilitary units in Central
18 Asia, they operated under the groups that call
19 themselves Gray Wolves, ultra-nationalists,
20 and their method was, you know, assassination
21 of certain leaders in the Central Asian
22 countries, and militizing, but not through
Page 97
1 Islam.
2 But after this scandal that took
3 place in Turkey, Susurluk scandal
, they were
4 no longer supported by certain segments in the
5 United States, and instead some of our people
6 involved in foreign policy, they supported the
7 Islamic movements of Gulan in the Central
8 Asian countries in order to counter Russia as
9 far as the energy sources are concerned in
10 those countries.
11 Q How is it, if you know, or how is
12 it that Gulan is allowed to be in the United
13 States?
14 Let me ask a different question.
15 A Okay.
16 Q I'm sorry. Is that an individual
17 based on what you've told me that you would be
18 -- that you would consider a threat to U.S.
19 interests?
20 A One hundred percent, absolutely.
21 Q And if you know, how is it that
22 he's allowed to be in the United States?
Page 98
1 A Because part of what he has in
2 terms of the deal with certain segments in the
3 United States is furthering the interests of
4 the people who are interested in the energy
5 sources in Central Asia, and that is the --
6 whether it's oil or whether it's natural gas,
7 and basically it's a fight.
8 The best way to describe it is
9 Cold War is not over. It's a continuation of
10 Cold War over those nations, and what we did
11 in Afghanistan in early 1980s with mujahideen,
12 we have been joined now in Central Asia by
13 using Islam and extremism and these madrasahs,
14 and Pakistani and Afghani elements to build
15 (unintelligible) and staff in terms of those
16 resources towards certain business interests.

17 Q Did you say that Gulan had set up
18 schools in the United States as well?
19 A Yes.