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Gulen Movement: Financial Resources
?"All these activities require financial resources. Who funds the Gulen Movement? Where the money is coming from?"
We forwarded your question to one of the experts who has done research on the issue, and here is his response to your question.
Fethullah Gulen Forum
Answered by Dogan Koc
I have done several pieces of research into the sources of revenue for the activities of the Gülen Movement. Firstly, Dr. Helen Ebaugh and I conducted research in Turkey and the United States into the financing of Gülen-inspired projects; this research used interviews with business leaders in Turkey, as well as local businessmen throughout Turkey who constitute the financial infrastructure of the movement. In addition, we presented data from one local Gülen-inspired institution in Houston, Texas, that collects thousands of dollars annually from local members, mostly students on small educational stipends.
Based on the scant literature that exists on the funding of Gülen-inspired projects and our own interviews conducted with members of the Gülen Movement both in Turkey and in Houston, Texas, it is evident that funds for movement activities are provided by millions of people the world over who are committed to the ideals promoted by Gülen. The basic money-raising strategy in the movement lies in the establishment of local circles of businessmen, teachers, principals, professionals, and students who meet together regularly to discuss the works of Gülen and consider how his ideals can be applied in their local communities.
Secondly, I analyzed a Gülen-inspired organization in Turkey, Kimse Yok Mu Aid and Solidarity Foundation. This foundation is one of the biggest aid organizations in Turkey and collects millions of dollars annually. I interviewed senior officers of the organization but mainly analyzed the financial accounts of the organization. I analyzed its revenues and methods of gathering financial resources in order to generate an understanding of the financial resources of the Gülen Movement in general.
While there are differences in each organization’s methods of fund raising and finding financial resources, there are similarities at a grassroots level. For instance, the aid foundation received donations from over 635,000 people in the year 2007.
In sum, both research projects conclude that the financial resources of the Gülen Movement come from individuals who support the activities of the movement.
There have been some claims that the movement is funded by different countries or secret services. For instance, some claim it is funded by the CIA, while others claim, it is funded by some Islamic countries. These claims are all baseless and no evidence has ever been produced to support them.
Recently, Rachel Sharon- Krespin wrote that Gülen controls 25 billion dollars, and used the first research I did with Dr Helen Ebaugh as a reference for this claim. However, in the article that she cites, contrary to her claims, we do not mention any such total. Sharon-Krespin’s claim therefore seems to be quite deliberate disinformation. (See response article)
In our paper we also pointed out that apart from encouraging people to donate money, Gülen has remained apart from all financial involvements and instead has encouraged those who sponsor projects to oversee the use of their contributions. This stance has built trust and confidence in Gülen's honesty and integrity.
A research that can state the total amount of money available for the activities of the Gülen Movement is not even feasible given its decentralized nature and reliance on local funding. As Gülen-inspired projects are always locally based and embedded in local circles of supporters, one would have to travel all over the world and collect the data from all these local circles, and add them up to give a total amount. Since the Movement is constantly growing, this is clearly dificult if not impossible.
For further information, see below articles: