Turkish police launch raids to detain Islamic figure, followers

Blanche Robertson
July 11, 2018

Adnan Oktar, a freaky and controversial figure who also denies evolution, was detained alongside dozens of mainly female alleged supporters on accusations of fraud, bribery and sexual assault.

An Islamic creationist and televangelist fond of being surrounded by scantily clad dancing women he calls his "kittens" has been arrested in Turkey.

Oktar, who critics see as the leader of a cult, gained notoriety for his programmes on the online A9 television channel and had regularly been denounced by Turkey's religious leaders. The women are often provocatively dressed, hair bleached blond with plastic surgery.

Istanbul police said warrants were issued against Adnan Oktar and 234 of his followers and that financial crime units were carrying out operations in Istanbul and four other cities to detain them. NTV television said 100 of those detained are female.

According to a statement by the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor's Office, Oktar "was caught while he attempted to run away" from the police. His lawyers were also detained.

Weapons including guns and rifles were also found during the raids, the agency said.

"This is a conspiracy by the British deep state", he told reporters as he was escorted from a police auto to the hospital.

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Elvan Kocak, a Turk living in Austria, filed a lawsuit against Oktar earlier this year, accusing him of kidnapping his two daughters, after he saw them on one of the televangelist's broadcasts.

Oktar is himself accused of political and military espionage by authorities.

Turkish televangelist Adnan Oktar has blamed the "British deep state" over his detention in Istanbul along with dozens of his followers on July 11, with several charges ranging from sexual abuse to military espionage against him.

According to his website, Oktar has written more than 300 books, translated into 73 languages, including one under his pen-name Harun Yahya in which he argues that Darwin's theory of evolution is at the root of global terrorism.

Ceylan Ozgul, a woman who appeared on Oktar's shows, told Anadolu she escaped the network in 2017 after spending a decade inside.

In February, workers from the Turkish Diyanet and Foundation Workers' Union (Diyanet-Sen) launched a legal complaint against Oktar over various allegations including insulting sacred values.

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