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Gulen’s Schools

The charismatic preacher and his secretive educational empire

The Gulen Mystery, RTD’s in-depth documentary series about Fethullah Gulen, investigates the man accused of ordering the military coup of July 2016 in Turkey. Recep Erdogan, the Turkish President, insists the US must extradite the cleric behind what he calls FETO, the Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organisation. American authorities demand evidence that the cleric, who has lived in Pennsylvania since 1999, is indeed implicated in the military uprising. For how could the self-taught educator have had anything to do with an attempt to seize control of the Turkish State?

Teenage boys putting their hands up to answer a teacher during class in one of Kyrgyzstan's Turkish schools. Still taken from RTD's documentary series on Fethullah Gulen, The Gulen Mystery, Episode 1: Gulen's Schools.
Fethullah Gulen, a home-schooled Turkish preacher, became famous for promoting a tolerant, science-friendly Islam and encouraging education. His followers built up an international network of 'Gulen schools', including in Kyrgyzstan, where they rank among the best in the country.

Episode 1 focuses on the worldwide network of schools the Turkish imam inspired. RTD travels to Kyrgyzstan to understand the appeal of Gulen's schools and how his educational network lay the groundwork for something much more ambitious.