Terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda and Taliban are recognized as fundamentalist groups that take haven in Islamic states like Pakistan, Afghanistan or middle eastern regions. Their methods involve bombastic attempts and harrowing messages to let the world know their presence, motive and strength to do ‘Jihaad’(holy war). However, until recently, because of their secretive ways, the Fethullah Terrorist Organisation(F.E.T.O.) has crept its root deep into the Türkish government and around the globe in an on par terror inducing way if not more than the infamous terrorist organizations we know.
The organization’s head is identified as Fatullah Gulen, who was a Pennsylvania-based leader of a cult 60s. Active since the 1960s, he first commenced the growth of his terror organization as a cleric and eventually spread his ‘gospel’ across the globe. He called his cosmopolitan expansion ‘Hizmet’, meaning service. He has been campaigning against the Turkish state and uses his followers to infiltrate inside the system’s deep inner and critical positions. He opened various schools and education centres in multiple nations on every continent. His first education institution was a student dormitory in 1976. Its primary purpose was to have religious discussions.
The education centres’ purpose was to provide income and recruits for the cult. Some were there just for studying, but others who showed promise were groomed to become essential military, judiciary and police members. There were many cases of cheating in the exam and cronyism that made sure these individuals dictated how the cos of a system moved.
Once these hand-picked individuals were comfortably seated in their positions of power, they were asked to give back to the organization by ‘donating’ 10-20%of their salary. A donation wasn’t limited to the officials in Türkiye. A witness testified in an article in the Washington Post that “her husband, a Turk, had been involved in the Gulen movement and that Turkish teachers at the Ohio schools had to turn over 40% of their salaries to a secret fund used by the movement”.
In Türkiye, through this system, F.E.T.O. had first spread like an infection in gazettes and papers. Later, many followers acquired powerful positions in the military in Tükiye to gain control of the state. They charged leaders and officials with cases by planting false evidence, which led to them imprisoning these leaders.
Abroad American institutions in the U.S.A. like Kenilworth Science and Technology Charter School, located in Louisiana, harmony Public school, Abramson Science and Technology School in New Orleans, 23 PakTurk International Schools and Colleges in Pakistan, Learnium School and College branches in India and many others worldwide were active under every country’s noses until July 15th 2022.
On July 15th 2016, Ankara and many other significant cities of Türkiye were blockaded and attacked as the Turkish military tried a coup d’état the Erdogan’s government. The coup, though failed to topple the government, 251 people lost their lives, with 2734 being injured due to the protesting and being attacked by the military under the control of F.E.T.O. This failure threw light on the groups’ covert activities. It lost approximately 75% of its schools, with 234 schools in 20 countries closed down and raided. They have been sold and changed their managerial staff, with some currently being investigated for malpractices and unfair actives.
Even though seemingly defanged, F.E.T.O. maintains a substantial presence in the U.S.A., with 218 charter schools that indoctrinate 80,000 across 28 states. Robert Amsterdam, an international lawyer at Amsterdam and Partners L.L.P, commented, “ Quite frankly never in almost 40 years of doing investigations have I run across an organization like the Gulen organization to say that this is an empire of deceit or deception is an understatement.”