ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Turkish police on Wednesday arrested Islamic cult leader Adnan Oktar, famous for his televised shows and creationist books, and scores of his followers among them women whom he calls “kittens” during a massive operation spanning from Istanbul to four other provinces.
Public-funded news agency Anadolu wrote that warrants were issued for 235 suspects of which 106 were women, adding national police conducted raids to arrest them at a total of 120 addresses.
As of the afternoon local time, 166 of them were in police custody.
Oktar and his followers formed a “criminal group,” state media said, adding a vast array of some 40 accusations that ranged from sexual violence, blackmail, child abuse, abduction, detention, deprivation of liberty, threats, slander, fraud, forgery, exploitation of religious beliefs, forming a criminal organization, and military espionage to money-laundering.
All the assets, property, foundations, and holdings affiliated with the group were seized, and authorities appointed trustees to control them, it said.
A staunch supporter of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Oktar expressed “confusion and surprise” in remarks to the independent Cumhuriyet newspaper shortly before his arrest in the morning hours as police launched simultaneous raids on businesses and houses affiliated with his group.
“The English intelligence has long demanded an operation against us. A delegation was sent to Turkey for this purpose. And [the demand] was also relayed to Mr. Tayyip [the President] during his visit to England too,” he said, appearing to blame the British foreign intelligence service MI6.
“I don’t think Tayyip bey and the Interior Minister know of this operation. I am not resentful but confused,” he said.
Thousands of complaints from citizens to the now-defunct Prime Ministry and the country’s official media watchdog made headlines earlier this year over Oktar’s TV shows in which he talked about Islam, domestic politics, and international relations, presented entertainment and danced with scores of young women, some of them scantily clothed.
The man, who on his private TV channel displayed a lavish lifestyle surrounded by seemingly devoted women and men, complained that “the operation should have targeted the PKK and enemies of the nation and homeland.”
PKK or the Kurdistan Workers’ Party is a rebel group fighting a decades-long armed campaign against the Ankara government to secure Kurdish linguistic and self-rule demands.
Oktar came to public prominence in the late 1980s after his fierce attacks on the science of biological evolution, the British naturalist Charles Darwin, communism, atheism, and Kurdish separatism in books he penned under the name Harun Yahya.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany