U.S.-based preacher Fetullah Gulen’s terrorist organization is held responsible for the deadly July 15 coup attempt that martyred at least 246 people and injured more than 2,100 others.
The network of Gulen, who has been in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, goes far beyond the United States.
The Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) has a broad network in most of the countries in the western Balkans, notably in Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina. It has entered public institutions as well as numerous private companies in the education, tourism and media sector.
According to figures compiled by Anadolu Agency staff in the Balkan countries, FETO, which prioritizes investments in the education field, operates a total of 40 schools including 15 schools in Bosnia, 12 in Albania, 7 in Macedonia, 5 in Kosovo, and one in Serbia.
FETO began its activities in Albania in 1993, establishing the Gulistan Foundation. In the capital Tirana, it runs “Mehmet Akif” and “Turgut Ozal” high schools, the Memorial International School of Tirana, and “Hasan Riza Pasa” and “Turgut Ozal” elementary schools in the city of Shkodër and Durrës, respectively.
Two major universities, Epoka and Beder in Tirana, allegedly have links to FETO, which has taken control of traditional Islamic schools, known as madrassas.
In 1994, FETO, or the Gulenist movement, set up the Sema Foundation, privatizing all sorts of Islamic education facilities – previously free of charge – to make business in cities such as Tirana, Kavaje, Korce, Albasan and Berat.
Albania’s most prestigious preschool education institution called Meridian is also known for having ties to the Gulenist movement.
The Gulenists are known for recruiting students by rewarding them with grants, placing them in public institutions and even marrying them through an association called “Horizantet e Reja”. The association requires students receiving help to pay an annual fee for religious facilities in return.
Accused of being the mastermind behind the deadly July 15 coup attempt in Turkey, Gulen writes books published a company called Prism. The website is called "fgulen.com/al" and operates in Albanian.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
The terror network has operated in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1998, establishing the Bosna Sema education facilities the same year.
Schools affiliated with FETO in Bosnia and Herzegovina include four preschools, five elementary schools, five high schools and one university operating in Sarajevo, Mostar, Bihać, Zenica, and Tuzla.
The International Sarajevo Burch University has an effective role in structuring the network. In the tourism sector, the well-known company “Fidan” provides public employees with tours to Turkey. Gulen’s books are available in Bosnian through Hikmet Publications.
In the Macedonian capital Skopje and provinces such as Tetovo, Gostivar, Struga, and Strumica, Gulen operates schools called “Yahya Kemal”. A weekly periodical, the Macedonia Zaman, is a leading news source in the country.
FETO also manages grocery store chains such as EVAR. It operates Sedef Language Schools, the Basak tourism agency, and rainbow transport firm. Meanwhile, foundations such as Tolerance and Safak are in charge of dormitories.
In Kosovo, the organization has two affiliated organizations, Gulistan education centers and the Atmosphere foundation, which help FETO run four schools across the country.
FETO runs the Beyza Elementary Schools in capital Belgrade and one cultural center in the city of Novi Sad, as well as two associations in the southwest city of Novi Pazar.
In Montenegro, FETO runs a language school in the capital Podgorica and a student dormitory in Rozaje city.