Istanbul police early Wednesday arrested Muslim leader Adnan Oktar, known by his pen name Harun Yahya, state news agency Anadolu reported. Police also launched an operation to arrest 235 people, who are suspected to have links with what they termed Oktar’s “gang.” Oktar is well-known and hated by many in Turkey for his friendship with many Israelis and his support of the Jewish State.
Oktar is known for his televangelist show, featured on live TV and online, featuring very attractive female devotees in Western attire, reiterating his message that Islam offers a good life and treats women as equals. His organization is commonly referred to as a cult, and he has been described as the “most notorious cult leader in Turkey.”
Oktar has been courageously open about his ties with many Israeli dignitaries, including many religious leaders and scholars, who have visited him in his compound in Istanbul.
According to Anadolu, Oktar has been placed on a wanted list issued by Combating Financial Crimes department of the provincial police, which refused to offer more details the media, other than to list his and his followers’ crimes: establishing an organization with felonious intent, child sexual abuse, sexual intercourse with a minor, kidnapping, retaining a minor, violating tax procedure law, and violating anti-terror law.
The operation is being carried out across five province, with many suspects nabbed, Anadolu reported.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is obsessed with conspiracy plots against his regime by religious leaders, whom he fears more than all his other enemies. He has been invested in forcing the US to turn over exile religious leader Fethullah Gülen, and even allegedly plotted his kidnapping.
In 1996, Oktar was involved in a scandal over a book disseminated by his publishing house titled The Holocaust Deception. He has since pulled the book and issued numerous apologies for the publication. In 2006, he published a book affirming the Holocaust, titled The Holocaust Violence, which states: “The Nazis subjected European Jews to indisputable and unforgivable cruelty during World War II. They humiliated, insulted and degraded millions of Jewish civilians, forcing them from their homes and enslaving them in concentration camps under inhuman conditions… Certainly the Jewish people, of whom 5.5 million died in concentration camps, were the worst victims of the Nazi barbarity.”
Oktar has since written many articles expressing his position against anti-Semitism, and his view that anti-Semitism is racism and is against the Koran.