Thursday, February 12, 2015

Gulen's strong base in the Balkans, by Ioannis Michaletos

Fetullah Gulen's international Islamic movement is for the past few years in the spotlight in Turkey due to his para-state mechanism he was able to orchestrate, with multiple layers of influence within the Police and state security forces and the education apparatus of the country. 

Although for years Erdogan's AKP political base was collaborating with Gulen, on a common global platform and in conjunction with the Muslim Brotherhood's global Islamic ambitions, the rift seems to have surpassed the level of compromise and a bitter fight ensues nowadays in Turkey.

Gulen's adherents and networks have flourished in the Balkans for years and constitute nowadays a formidable nexus of NGO's, religious centers, schools and colleges, as well as, private companies. The following passages outline their reach, with a focus in Albania.


Since the early 1990's and after the collapse of Communism in Albania, Gulen through the support of the Turkish state made his entrance in the country and has since then, created a multilayered parallel educational structure to the country's state school system.

Religious madrassas have been established in Berat, Tirana, Korca, Elbasan, Pogradec. Higher education colleges in Tirana, Durres, Skondra such as Turgut Ozal, Mehmet Akif, Hashan Risa Pasha respectively. Gulen places special attention into reaching out to the country's emerging elite, thus the highly -pursued private school for the local elite, that of the International School of Tirana, is a Gulen-owned one, whose graduates get access to either local or international universities that belong to the global Gullen system. 

NGO such as the Yeni Ufuklar, play a crucial role into cementing interpersonal relations between students and alumni, whilst local Sunni religious structures have been effectively influenced to a great extent by the people associating themselves with Gulen in Albania. 

Organization: Sema Foundation (Fondacioni Sema)

Mehmet Akif College (Kolegji Mehmet Akif) Tirana (1993)

Hasan Riza Pasha College (Shkolla Hasan Riza Pasha) Shkoder (2001) primary and secondary school, and kindergarten 

Institucioni Parashkollor M. Akif, Tirana (2006)

Meridian Course Center, a.k.a. Meridian Foreign Language and Training Courses Center (Qendër Kursesh Meridian) Tirana

Medresas operated by Sema Foundation in partnership with Komuniteti Musliman:

-Elbasan – Cerrik, Liria

-Kavajë, Hafiz Ali Korça,

-Tiranë, H. Mahmud Dashi

-Buharaja-Berat, Medrese Vexhi


Epoka University, Tirana

Beder University   (opened April 2011; Sema Foundation)

Organization: Turgut Ozal Education Company

Turgut Ozal  kindergarten, primary and secondary school, high school, Tirana

Turgut Ozal College, kindergarten, primary, secondary and high school, Durres

Memorial International School of Tirana (secondary and high school)

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Organization: Bosna-Sema Educational Institutions

International Burch University

Una Sana College (Unsko-Sanski Koledz)

International School of Sarajevo - Vraca

International School of Sarajevo - Ilidza

International School of Tuzla

International School of Zenica


Umbrella organization:  Drujba Schools

Drujba Private School, Sofia

Drujba Private School, Plovdiv

Drujba Study Center, Sofia

Drujba Study Center, Plovdiv


Organization: Gülistan Educatıon Center
Mehmet Akif College, Prishtina
Mehmet Akif College, Prizren
International School of Prishtina


International Balkan University, Skopje

Private Yahya Kemal Colleges, Skopje
YKC ÜsküpAvtokomanda Lisesi  (high school)
YKC Gostivar Lisesi   (high school)
YKC Struga Lisesi   (high school)
YKC Üsküp Butel Lisesi   (high school)
YKC Üsküp İlkokulu   (primary school)
YKC Struga İlkokulu   (primary school)
YKC Strumica Lisesi   (high school)
YKC Tetova Bölgesi Lisesi   (high school)


Umbrella organization: Lumina Educational Institutions
Scoala Spectrum Bucaresti
Scoala Spectrum Constanta
Scoala Internationala Spectrum Iasi
Scoala Internationala Spectrum Cluj
Scoala Internationala Spectrum Timisoara
Scoala Internationala Spectrum Ploiesti
International Computer High School of Bucharest (ICHB) (Liceul International de Informatica Bucaresti)
International Computer High School of Constanta  (Liceul International de Informatica Constanta)
International School of Bucharest
ISB Early Learning Centre

University:  University of Southeast Europe - Lumina University (Universitatea Europei de Sud-Est Lumina)


Bejza Educational Center (languages, IT)
Bejza Primary School

A safe estimation that can be mad at this point, is that the ongoing struggle between Erdogan and Gulen will spill over to the latter's Balkan networking leading to dissatisfaction of Ankara of his presence in the aforementioned countries, signaling an eventual decrease in Gulen's movement capabilities, especially those in Albania, Kosovo, and Bosnia. 

That does not mean that the infrastructure will vanish, on the contrary it will be directed into serving AKP's agenda by pushing out Gulen's directorship over it. As a result that will further enchase anxienty of the local governments of the subversion on long-term basis of the Turkish state in their societies.