The Fountain Magazine The Fountain en (C) 2012 How to Face a Disaster? - The Fountain Hurricanes, tropical storms, earthquakes … More people are being affected by more natural disasters. But life’s challenges do not only come in the form of natural disasters – individuals have to face all sorts of disasters in their personal lives. Sometimes it’s the loss of a loved one or a job, a first gray hair, a failed class, getting passed over for a promotion. These challenges make up the theme of this year’s essay contest: How to Face a Disaster?

Tell us how you survive difficult times. Give us your best advice. Share your greatest life lesson. For details, go to our website:

As a highly competitive and commodified industry, sport is not only a weekend, sit-on-the-couch pastime, but is also a political arena where ideologies fight. The recent “take a knee” protest in the US is not a standalone incident. From the ancient Olympic Games to modern-day World Cups, sports have been a means of national pride, and the athletes are considered heroes. Their lifestyles, opinions, and choices are always newsworthy, even if these choices mainly relate to their home countries thousands of miles away.  

One striking recent case is that of Enes Kanter, NBA’s Turkish star, who is at odds with the current Turkish government. Kanter (25) has been an open critic of the government’s corruption. After the July 2016 coup attempt, he started speaking up even more loudly to protest the government’s persecution of tens of thousands of innocent citizens. Justin Pahl talked with Kanter on his life as a devout Muslim in the NBA and on his struggle as an advocate for the oppressed in his home country.

As a follow-up to the story of Abraham (pbuh) in the previous...]]> 2003-11-12 10:03:42 “Pen” diagnoses cancer in 10 seconds - The Fountain Zhang J et al. Nondestructive tissue analysis for ex vivo and in vivo cancer diagnosis using a handheld mass spectrometry system. Science Translational Medicine, September 2017


The Islamic intellectual, the honorable Fethullah Gülen, is one of the distinguished scholars of our century. He is one of Allah’s blessings for us. When we look at his personal life, his social life, and his services to the Islamic world, we only see his good deeds. With his notion of service, which hasn’t only been restricted to the Islamic world but has spread to 160 countries, Mr. Gülen has had an extraordinarily positive impact.

We’ve read Mr. Gülen’s books and have gotten to know him through his friends and his followers. As opposed to what some people keep repeating, we have not seen anything even hinting at terrorism in any part of his life.

This man lives a life – alhamdulillah - in close connection with Allah, which leads to a reconciliation with the hearts of the people surrounding him.
Hizmet Embraces the Entire Human Family - Imam Omar Shakir I'm saddened to hear that the Hizmet Movement here is being categorized as a terror group. 

I've been working with them now for the past eight years. I've had an opportunity to work closely with them and to travel with them overseas, and I see no foundation for this. 

As a matter of fact, when I look at their zeal and their enthusiasm for the religion, and I look at how they practice the Qur'an and the life example of Muhammad the Prophet (upon him be peace), I'm inspired by what they do. 

And they not only focus and center upon Muslims, they have great relationships with the non-Muslim community. And I would consider them to be like ambassadors for Islam. 

They share Ramadan, they share neighborly needs, etc.

Muhammad the Prophet (upon him be peace) said he was one time talking with one of his companions, and he asked them if he knew one of the brothers. And then, he said, “Yes, I know so and so.”


And then the Prophet (upon h...]]> "Ours Is Not a Caravan of Despair" - The Hizmet Movement of Fethullah Gülen and the Common Good – A Perspective from the UK - Ian Williams The Hizmet (service, in Turkish) movement associated with the Turkish teacher Fethullah Gülen [b. 1941] is part of the emerging “European Islam” which has its own diversity in the expression of Turkish-Muslim identity.  The movement is active globally in education, media, inter-religious dialogue, finance, and relief work. In Britain, Hizmet has been particularly active in education and interfaith dialogue, and has made a significant contribution to the common good over the past twenty years. Hizmet is a living expression of Mevlana Rumi’s assertion that faith in the One God is far from being “… a Caravan of Despair” (Citlak & Bingul 2004, 8).

This article is being written at a time of national stress in the UK and Turkey. In the latter, following the July, 2016, coup attempt, Hizmet followers have faced extraordinary pressure, most of it illegal, from the ruling AKP government. Without providing any evidence, the government has claimed Hizmet – a hitherto benign, pro-social, pro-democratic, and apolitical movement – plotted and carried out the coup attempt. Thousands of citizens suspected of association with the Hizmet movement have been imprisoned, exiled, or dismissed from their professions by the AKP government. A critical analysis of such hostility is essential.   

Many countries around the world are facing a crisis of democracy. With authoritarianism on the rise, countries from Asia to Europe to the Americas are grappling with critical choices about government, minority rights, and the rule of law.

Foremost among these countries is Turkey. Once a shining example of a democracy in the Islamic world, recent years have seen Turkey fall further and further into authoritarianism. As it has happened, many people have turned to the renowned Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen for his insights into his native country. In No Return from Democracy, a recently published book, Gülen’s thoughts on countless issues – from Islam and Democracy to Minorities and Their Rights, and Terrorism and Jihad to Dialogue and Coexistence – have been gathered together in one place. His insightful, urgent analyses address both global problems and schisms unique to Turkey, such as The Kurdish Question and the Alevi-Sunni Divide.

No Return from DemocracyOne year after the mysterious coup attempt of July 15, the situation in Turkey has become much clearer. Unfortunately, it has also become much darker. In the confusing hours of that terrible night, President Erdogan’s declaration upon landing in Istanbul that, “This uprising is a gift from God to us because this will be a reason to cleanse our army,” was both enigmatic and foreboding. In the hours that followed, he sought to bring clarity to the confusion by alleging that a previously consistently pacifist civil society movement was in fact a terrorist organization and had been behind the coup attempt. At that moment, Erdogan had the empathy and attention of not just his nation but the global community. No one wants to see a military coup succeed and a democracy toppled – especially not when this democracy represented the hopes of the greater Middle East and entire Muslim world.

Whatever the circumstances of the coup, the president’s insistence on needing to root out the shadowy forces behind it were hard to argue with. In the days that followed, however, it quickly became clear that whatever prior knowledge Erdogan might have had of moves against him, he was well prepared with a very long list of people and institutions that, he insisted, needed to be purged.

Since the corruption scandal of December 2013, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has waged an all-out war against the Gülen (or Hizmet) movement. The anti-Gülenist campaign started with the closing of private tutoring centers operated by members of the movement and was followed by the jailing and mistreatment of journalists, bureaucrats, and businessmen who were claimed to have connections with the movement. The operation has become Erdoğan’s main source of legitimacy in recent years. Erdoğan has not only utilized the brute force of the state apparatus, but also the soft power of manipulation and propaganda, to suppress and criminalize the movement and tarnish its reputation around the world.


Erdoğan’s strategy against the Gülen movement can be characterized by “the Diversionary Theory of War” in political science, according to which leaders generate foreign policy crises to divert the public's attention from discontent with their rule and to bolster their political fortunes through a “rally ‘round the flag.”Judicial independence in Turkey has been dying for a long time, but it was annihilated after the July 15, 2016 coup attempt. A comprehensive portrait of how the country, once a beacon of democratic hope for the Middle East, lost its rule of law requires revisiting the corruption probe of December 2013. This probe implicated then Prime Minister Erdoğan’s family and cabinet members; the evidence clearly revealed a scandal involving bribery, smuggling, and violations of UN sanctions against Iran. Instead of allowing the investigation to proceed, Erdoğan fought back, changing the state structure, especially law enforcement and the judiciary, to avoid prosecution.


Erdoğan has taken many steps to obliterate the rule of law and separation of powers, which are the backbone of any healthy democracy. He has done the most damage to the judiciary. Any judge or prosecutor assigned to a case pitting the government against any opposition groups, but especially against the Hizmet Movement, has faced overwhelming pressure from the executive branch to ignore the rule of law and side with the government, regardless of the evidence. Any judge or prosecutor siding with the opposition groups has been dismissed, and many have been arrested and charged with being members of a terror org...]]> Civil Liberties in the Throes of Turkish Authoritarianism - Prof. Zaman Stanizai Objectivity in political analysis is a luxury often claimed, but rarely earned. Governments, no matter how responsive to public demands, often fall short of the people’s expectations and are, therefore, not immune to criticism by the public, the media, or the venomous stings of their political opponents. This is why our analysis must, of necessity, be prefixed with a philosophical perspective on human nature in governance as we identify the oscillating trends between democracy and authoritarianism in Turkey.


We often act as the defendants of our own actions while constantly judging the deeds of others. This gravitational force results in sanctimonious complacency and, at times, holier-than-thou indignation, keeping our perception fogged and our beliefs befuddled. Occasionally, we inquire within to see if we have striven enough to meet the ideals of our ideas.

Nuanced poetic parlance refuses to be anchored to syntactical constraints or phonemic formalities. It thus helps us color our reasoned thoughts with intuitions, measuring the severity of the perpetual unfurling of our human tragedy. The wondering soul in search of the self seems lost in the thronged landscape of faces aged by suffering—faces masking identities that can no longer discern and discriminate between reason and rhyme.

We come together to manage our affairs in governance. We bridge the divide between the government and the governed by establishing institutions responsive to common concerns.  We add a dash of demos to the mix to legitimate our government’s claim to representation of being of, for, and, by the people.

But more often than not these structures lose the substance they were meant to contain. Dramas are staged in the market place of legislated demagoguery where political clowns entertain t...]]> Turkey: A State Under One-Man Rule - Anwar Alam The July 15, 2016, failed military coup in Turkey, among others, has accelerated and strengthened the Erdoğan regime’s authoritarianism (albeit the democratic aspiration reflected in the people’s resistance against the coup), a process that was set in motion in the aftermath of the December 2013 corruption revelations about the regime. Turkey has been transformed into a state under one-man rule.

How does one explain Turkey relapsing into an increasing authoritarian polity under the very party (AKP) and regime credited with bringing in, between 2002 and 2011, a model of “Muslim Democracy” combining Islam, secularism, democracy, and economic success? Why does Erdoğan remain highly popular despite undermining Turkey’s democratic heritage? What are the implications of a growing Turkish authoritarianism for the stability of the region and the defeat of ISIS?

There are multiple factors that account for the gradual transformation of Turkey into an authoritarian entity under Erdoğan’s leadership.

Weak democratic ...]]> 2011-07-08 01:22:30 Was Turkey's Coup For Real? - Prof. David L. Phillips Much speculation exists about the coup in Turkey on July 15, 2016. Some even call it a “false-coup,” which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan organized in order to justify a crackdown against oppositionists. There are many other instances when a military tried to remove the civilian head of government. Case studies suggest a pattern, which can be used to evaluate the events in Turkey one year ago.

When conducting a coup, the first action involves capturing or killing the head of government, in this instance Erdogan.

In parallel to killing or capturing the head of government, loyal military and security units must be immobilized to prevent them from obstructing the coup.

Public information is critical. The putschists typically seize control of media so they can manage the flow of information to the public. Traditional media outlets involve radio and television, both public and private. New media include social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

A head of the putsch presents himself so the public can attach a face to the events and find reassurance. If the public protests the coup, mutinous soldiers use all necessary measures to preserve order.   

Note: I first wrote most of the words that follow these in August, 2016, a month after the “coup” in Turkey. Between then and now, things in that splendid country have only gotten worse, and there are places in the following paragraphs where I note such developments…

It is hard to believe that anyone who is astute—and certainly anyone who has been watching Recep Tayyip Erdoğan degenerate into a tyrant over the last several years—could take the story he has been presenting about the recent so-called “coup” attempt seriously. It’s just as difficult to imagine any serious observer believing Fethullah Gülen was in any way, shape, or form behind the failed “coup.”

Mr. Erdoğan first came to power as Prime Minister nearly a decade and a half ago, following a very successful tenure as the mayor of Istanbul—a magnificent, ancient city that he revitalized in many ways. He was elected after a succession of inept and/or corrupt leaders had pushed Turkey toward social and economic oblivion. He gained the support of Fethullah Gülen, who saw in Erdoğan someone who could help pull the country into the modern era while restoring its sense of an Islamic-based identity.

As Mr. Erdoğan became more comfortable and confident, he saw less and less need for the support of Mr. Gülen and his thousands, perhaps millions, of followers. By the end of the Prime Minister’s third term a clear schism had opened between the two. One of two things seems to have occurred. Either Erdoğan had been clever enough to mask his true intentions and ambitions all along, so that not only was Turkey duped, but so was Gülen—and most of the world, including the United States government—or the power that he achieved gradually corrupted him, breeding an unslakable...]]> The Gülen Community: Who to Believe – Politicians or Actions? - Thomas Michel On July 15, 2016, while President Erdoğan was vacationing in the Mediterranean coastal town of Marmaris, Istanbul and Ankara were shaken by an attempted coup d’état carried out by certain members of the Turkish armed forces. 

About seven years before that, in May 2009, I received an award at the International Turkish Olympiad.  The festival was essentially a cultural event consisting of Turkish songs, dances, and poetry recitals performed by students from Turkish schools around the world.  It took place in a modern convention hall in Ankara with thousands of spectators in attendance.  The event was sponsored and organized by members of the Hizmet movement, a Muslim community inspired by the preaching and writings of Turkish scholar Fethullah Gülen.  When I, together with a handful of other recipients, mounted the stage to accept our awards, there to shake our hands was the smiling Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.     

The incident underlines how less than a decade earlier relations between Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (known by its acronym, the AKP) and the Hizmet movement guided by Gülen’s teaching were characterized by cooperation and r...]]> 2004-07-23 08:41:45 Erdoǧan’s Most Vulnerable Victims: Women and Children - Sophia Pandya Human rights violations in Turkey have increased exponentially in the aftermath of the July 15, 2016 attempted coup. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoǧan blamed the plot on the Hizmet (Gülen) movement, and seized the opportunity to throw many of those he considered as opposition in jail. In all, over a hundred thousand people have been arrested, despite a lack of evidence against the vast majority of those detained. The UK Foreign Affairs Committee states there is a lack of credible evidence the movement was behind the coup,[1] and Fethullah Gülen, Hizmet’s founding figure, flatly denies involvement.

Nonetheless, since July 15, women have been subjected to an uptick of a variety of intimidation strategies, including rape, the threat of rape, harassment, and other forms of violence—not only by Erdoǧan’s AKP-led (Justice and Development) government, but also by civilians emboldened by the new climate in which macho, hyper-masculinity and misogyny have become widespread. Many women whose families are affiliated with the groups currently targeted by the crackdown (i.e. Hizmet participants, Kurds, Alevis) have reported experiencing psychological trauma. Unsurprisingly, the political turmoil has also negatively affected children in a myriad of ways.

Declaring a “state of emergency” (still...]]> 2016-10-20 08:00:00 What Went Wrong? Purge, Persecution, and the Imperative to Stand with the Innocent in Turkey - Scott C. Alexander The disturbing meme depicting criminals impaled on hooks with the words "The ideal method of execution for [the members of] the Fethullah Terrorist Organization: The Ottoman Way" is making its way around Turkish social media. Apparently, the image itself – which cannot be published here due to its graphic content – originally comes from a traditional miniature illustration in an Ottoman manuscript and was recently appropriated as the lead image in a similarly titled article published on the pro-government media website.[1] This article begins with a note of fond nostalgia for a time when the punishment of rebels against the state could be quick and decisive because governments did not have to worry about the inconvenience of “inquiries” and the “courts.”Mr. Erdoğan:

I have visited your lovely country no less than five times over the past ten years. On four of these visits, members of the Hizmet movement were my guides. I have also proudly been associated with Hizmet for nearly 15 years. It saddens me deeply to see what has transpired in Turkey during the last few years. Let me be very clear, I can say much the same about my own country and many other countries, as well. But this is not the focus of my message to you today.

Recently, I have been reminded of the now famous words delivered on June 9, 1954, during the Army-McCarthy Hearings in Washington, D.C. On that particular day, the Special Counsel for the Army, Joseph N. Welch, responded to the accusations against members of the Army by then Senator of Wisconsin, Joseph R. McCarthy, by saying: “Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You have done enough. Have you no sense of ...]]> A Meditation on Persecution - Jon Pahl Among the many gospel hymns and spirituals that have provided strength for a suffering people over the decades, one has stayed with me in recent weeks.  That song—sung by the great soul artist Sam Cooke, and covered by many gospel choirs – is entitled “I’m So Glad,” but I remember it as “Troubles Don’t Last Always.”  Among its key lines, as performed by Rev. Timothy Wright and the Chicago Interdenominational Mass Choir, is the following:

Weeping may endure for a night, keep the faith it will be alright. Troubles don't last always.”

                  Since July 15, 2016, following a failed coup whose origins are still unknown while many signs indicate it may have been orchestrated by the Turkish government, people associated with the global Hizmet movement have been targeted for persecution. This persecution, however, is not new; it has been going on for decades.  The rationales have constantly shifted. The failed coup is just the latest excuse. 

Christians like me, who follow the example of Jesus, know that goodness is always targeted by those committed to corruption.  The Apostle Paul, in his 2nd Letter to the Church at Corinth, wrote of the early Christian community: “We are pressed on all sides, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (4:8-9).

2011-07-04 05:25:01 “And not equal are the good deed and the bad” - On Violence, Power, and Peace in Turkey’s Most Disastrous Year - Philip Clayton Why do the most violent people in the world accuse the most peaceful of violence?

The last year represents one of the darkest periods in modern Turkish history. In lectures around the world, I once argued for the geopolitical significance of Turkey, which at the time was functioning as an impressive, democratic bridge between East and West. Here was a deeply devout Muslim nation that stressed democracy and civil liberties, a country that modeled an authentic religious identity and yet was not afraid of science and the secular world.

And then all hell broke loose. Our world is no stranger to ruthless and megalomaniacal leaders presiding over brutal and immoral regimes. And yet even by these standards, the Erdoğan regime has set records over the last years. The government’s attack on freedom of speech and education is particularly dangerous:

The numbers surrounding other educational sectors are mind-boggling: 44,000 staff from the Education Ministry, the great majority of them teachers, 1280 schools, 800 dormitories and 550 foundations (many of them educational). Upwards of 90,000 civilians have been detained, with roughly half arrested, and more than 120,000 have been fired or suspended from their jobs… So consequential was the purge of deans that at one university, the Rector, Prof. Dr. Ihsan Gunaydin, became the dean of six faculties (Celik, 2017).

The brutality of the purges and the suffering they have caused are self-evident and are being covered by other authors. In this article I wish to explore a different question: how is one to understand the conflict between good and evil, and peace and violence, this disastrous year in Turkish history represents? Why does the dictator label the peaceful imam a terrorist? 

Hizmet, the movement inspired by Fethullah Gülen, and f...]]> 2015-11-16 10:12:36 What Really Happened in Turkey on July 15, 2016? An Alternative to the Turkish Government Narrative - Yuksel A. Aslandogan On July 15, 2016, Turkey experienced a horrific event: an unsuccessful military coup. But a year after the tragedy, questions about what really happened remain unanswered. What we know for sure is that the failed coup provided President Erdoğan with an excellent excuse to consolidate his power: despite widespread claims of voter fraud, he secured a narrow victory in an April 2017 referendum – which was conducted under state of emergency conditions – to amend the constitution and open his path to becoming the executive president of Turkey in 2019. This article highlights the Turkish government’s specious claims about the attempted coup and its alleged planners and provides a counter-narrative.

Erdoğan’s claim and responses by Western governments and intelligence services

With the coup attempt ongoing, Erdoğan claimed, on national TV, that Fethullah Gülen, a retired preacher and a vocal Erdoğan critic, was the coup’s mastermind. Gülen condemned the attempt while it was in progress and denied any involvement. He challenged the Erdoğan government to allow for an international investigation into the event (Exhibit B). He pledged to abide by its ruling. Erdoğan did not respond to this call. 

Western governments and observers have not accepted Erdoğan’s narrative of July 15th, either. In particular:

The Turkey that I once knew as a hope-inspiring country on its way to consolidating its democracy and a moderate form of secularism has become the dominion of a president who is doing everything he can to amass power and subjugate dissent. Turkey, my homeland, is in need of help from the world to return to a democratic path.

Since July 15, 2016, following a deplorable coup attempt, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has systematically persecuted innocent people — arresting, detaining, firing and otherwise ruining the lives of more than 300,000 Turkish citizens, be they Kurds, Alevis, secularists, leftists, journalists, academics or participants of Hizmet, the peaceful humanitarian movement with which I am associated.

As the coup attempt unfolded, I fiercely denounced it and denied any involvement. Furthermore, I said that anyone who participated in the putsch betrayed my ideals. Nevertheless, and without evidence, Erdogan immediately accused me of orchestrating it from 5,000 miles away.

The next day, the government produced lists of thousands of individuals whom they tied to Hizmet — for opening a bank account, teaching at a school or reporting for a newspaper — and treated such an affiliation as a crime and began destroying their lives. The lists included people who had been dead for months and people who had been serving at NATO’s European headquarters at the time. International watchdogs have reporte...]]> 2003-11-12 09:02:38 What Went Wrong With Turkey? - The Fountain Asli recounts how her mother-in-law recently caught her six-year-old son stealing a pomegranate from the neighbour’s tree. When she asked her grandson why he was stealing, he replied: "I’m stealing this pomegranate so that the police arrest me and take me to prison, so I'll be with Daddy. I will return it as soon as Daddy leaves jail.”[1]

A blind journalist, a teacher with a major physical disability, a NASA scientist, an American Christian Pastor, the Amnesty International director, and a deceased prosecutor. What could have brought these otherwise unlikely figures to share the same fate? 

Last year’s coup attempt in Turkey.

The Turkish government says these individuals plotted to topple the state on July 15, 2016. Assisting them, according to the government, were new mothers and their babies, children and the infirm.

Unfortunately, this is not a tall tale nor is it a dark comedy; these people are now behind bars on charges of being a member of a terrorist organization.

2003-11-12 10:03:42