Hodjaefendi Fethullah GülenTurkish Muslim Preacher
Birth: 27 April 1941 (Age: 77)
Source of Influence: Scholarly
Influence: Figure of spiritual and social leadership for millions of Turkish Muslims and others around the world
School of Thought: Traditional Sunni
Status: Not featured in current year
Failed Coup Ramifications: Gülen has been accused of orchestrating the attempted coup of 15 July 2016, and his organisations and supporters have borne the brunt of Erdogan’s crackdown. Many of his followers and supporters in state institutions such as the police, judiciary and education have been targeted and removed from their posts (most estimates give the number at around 70,000). Turkey has formally asked the USA to extradite Gülen.
Signs of Problems: Two years ago, corruption allegations by Gülen against then Prime Minister Erdogan and his inner circle created a great rift between these former allies. Gülen was blamed for running a ‘parallel state’ and hundreds of his followers in the police and judiciary were removed amidst allegations of phone bugging and illegal audio recordings.
Areas of Influence Included:
Interfaith centres in Europe and the US; charities, hospitals, and banks; around 300 schools in Turkey and hundreds more worldwide (including the largest network of Charter Schools in the USA); a TV and radio station, and daily newspapers.