Children file sexual abuse complaints against detained Turkish televangelist
Televangelist Adnan Oktar is seen in this file photo with his female followers whom he calls "kittens."
The number of people who have filed a complaints about Oktar in the last five days rose to 45, daily Hürriyet reported on July 16.
Complaints from abroad—six other countries—have applied to the embassies, the report said.
Oktar has not yet given his testimony and has been detained since July 11, when his suspected associates along with him were apprehended in simultaneous raids carried out across Turkey’s five provinces.
The financial crimes units have detained 190 people in total for their suspected association with Oktar over accusations including forming a criminal gang, fraud, and sexual abuse, Istanbul police headquarters have said.
Some 45 more persons who have detention orders on their names are still sought for, the daily reported.
More complaints of rape
A total of 35 people have filed complaints with authorities against the controversial figure until July 13, saying they had been sexually abused and raped by his cult. Fifteen of these complainants have said they had been abused when they were aged from 11 to 17.
One child who was a victim of sexual abuse has been alleged to have been taken to the cult by their mother. The child was 11 at the time. Authorities have initiated legal action against the mother in question, whose name has not been disclosed.
Oktar’s “followers” willingly became members of his cult, however, if they had wanted to leave, they were allegedly “coerced” back into the group. For example, some women had their eyebrows or hair shaved and were beaten up, according to various allegations.
The investigation undertaken by police also revealed why Oktar’s female followers, dubbed “kittens,” all looked alike. Oktar allegedly chose women who had high cheekbones, slim waists, and fleshy lips, which is why he made every woman who joined his cult undergo plastic surgery.
Weapons, artifacts, cash confiscated
On July 11, police detained Oktar along with 171 suspects after the Istanbul Court of Peace ordered the confiscation of 235 suspects’ properties and appointed a trustee to their companies, organizations, and associations.
The number of detentions rose to 190 late July 12, and police detained his “right-hand man,” Tarkan Yavaş, one day after he fled.
During the operations, police confiscated six truckloads of historical artifacts and antiques along with more than 400 memory sticks, 70 weapons, over 3,000 bullets, and considerable amounts of cash.
Following the arrests, many other victims have started coming forward to file complaints, officials have said.
February: Slowly turning into a government target
In February, Turkey’s television watchdog suspended Oktar’s television show that blended theological discussion and dancing because it “violated gender equality and women’s rights.”
Oktar had hosted a talk show on his television channel, A9, on which he has discussed Islamic values and sometimes danced with young women he calls “kittens” and sang with young men, who he calls his “lions.”
In 2006, he 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.