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Gulen community should return to civil society

The Gulen community should acknowledge that its strategy of building cadres within the state has backfired, jeopardizing the very realm of civil society this strategy intended to safeguard.
A teacher points to the board as he teaches students during a class at FEM University Preparation School in Uskudar November 27, 2013. At the FEM University Preparation School in Uskudar, a conservative district on the Asian side of Istanbul, young men are quietly receiving specialised coaching in how to pass the exams that give access to the most important jobs in Turkey. To a casual eye, nothing seems remarkable. As in nearly all Turkish schools, a portrait of Ataturk hangs in every classroom. There are n

Turkey’s judiciary held controversial elections Oct. 12 to determine the new members of the Higher Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK). The main issue of discussion before and after the elections was the number of “Gulenist candidates.” Newspapers claimed ahead of the election that out of 15,000 judges and prosecutors 3,000 to 5,000 were Gulenists. After the vote we were told that “only two Gulenists got elected to the HSYK” and front-page headlines trumpeted “the defeat of the community.”

The “defeat” may have upset many members and sympathizers of the community, led by Muslim scholar and preacher Fethullah Gulen, but if they try to see the issue from another perspective they will realize that the cloud has a big silver lining. Because any perception of the community wielding disproportionate clout in the judiciary is harmful both to the community itself and Turkish democracy.

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