For months, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and supporters of US-based Islamist preacher Fetullah Gülen have been engaged in a fierce power struggle for supremacy in Turkey.
Although repeatedly denied by Fetullah Gülen, the religious leaders who used to be partners have now become arch-enemies. Gülen fled to the United States in 1999 after being accused of planning a coup d'état against the government at the time, which he has always denied.
The central element in the policy of the Gülen organization is the topic of education: The Gülen organization runs schools, tutoring facilities and student residences in around 140 countries - including Germany. Working in the field of education should initially be seen as very positive, especially with regard to the so-called tutoring schools, which can also help weaker students to graduate in order to be admitted to university. As a result, the Gülen movement has millions of followers, especially in Turkey, who work in the judiciary or with the police after completing their training.
The judiciary has been investigating Erdogan's government for months, numerous ministers have had to resign and allegations have been mounting against Erdogan himself. Prime Minister Erdogan describes these events, which he believes should lead to the overthrow of his government, as an attack on his state; there is often talk of dark powers. In his fight against what he believes to be allegations of corruption organized by Gülen, Erdogan had thousands of police officers, judges and prosecutors transferred. New laws restricting the judiciary and possibilities for politicians to influence the judiciary were crammed through parliament, which led to heated arguments and even fights in parliament on several occasions.
Now the debate about Erdogan's desired closure of the Gülen schools in parliament has again led to heated arguments, and some MPs have even been injured. Since the ruling AKP party has a large majority of seats in parliament, the bill to close the Gülen schools, which is primarily intended to limit Gülen's power and influence, was easily passed.
Several major newspapers, TV stations, a bank and some major companies are close to the Gülen movement. However, it remains questionable whether Erdogan's rigid policy will be able to influence the course. This law will certainly also be signed by President Gül.
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