Televangelist Adnan Oktar arrested, denies charges

Televangelist Adnan Oktar arrested, denies charges

ISTANBUL

The controversial Turkish televangelist Adnan Oktar, also known as Harun Yahya, was arrested by an Istanbul court early July 19.

The court arrested Oktar along with more than 160 others for allegedly committing several crimes. Some other suspects are still in custody being interrogated, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

In his testimony to the court, Oktar pleaded not guilty, claiming that he was a victim of “a plot” and that he is “a nationalist and Atatürkist person.”

“I live in the public eye. Everyone knows me as I live among the people and on TV. All the places I have been to are well-known,” he said.

He denied being the “leader of an organization” and rebuffed allegations of rape and sexual harassment.

Oktar also said his monthly income is 3,500 Turkish Liras, which is about $730.

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He was detained in the early hours of July 11 as police searched for those with suspected links to his cult-like organization.

His group has been accused of crimes including establishing a criminal organization, child sexual abuse, sexual intercourse with minors, kidnapping, violating tax law and violating the anti-terrorism law.

Oktar owns a TV channel called A9, from where he broadcasts a show on religious and social issues surrounded by surgically enhanced women he refers to as his “kittens.”

During the operations into his compound, police confiscated six truckloads of historical artifacts and antiques along with more than 400 memory sticks, 70 weapons, over 3,000 bullets, luxury cars, and considerable amounts of cash.

In 2006, Oktar wrote the Atlas of Creation under his pen-name Harun Yahya, arguing that Darwin’s theory of evolution is at the root of global terrorism. He has written more than 300 books, translated into 73 languages, his channel says on its website.

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