Turkey’s top media watchdog orders fine, to cease broadcasting of televangelist Harun Yahya’s channel
Turkey’s top media watchdog, the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), ordered on Feb. 6 to impose a fine and cease broadcasting five times for the channel of controversial TV personality Adnan Oktar, who is known abroad as Harun Yahya.
The RTÜK’s order came after a dispute between the Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) and Oktar, which erupted when Diyanet head Ali Erbaş suggested Oktar had “likely lost his mental balance.”
“It is not right to watch a TV channel like [Oktar’s A9 station]. The authority to ban a TV station does not belong to the Diyanet but the authorized [institution] should ban it,” Erbaş said.
In an evaluation of the TV program “Conversations with Adnan Oktar” on channel A9, the RTÜK detected that on the show, music was played while young men and women were dancing and a woman was performing inappropriately at a close distance to Adnan Oktar during conversations over Quranic interpretations.
The top media watchdog stated that those kinds of TV programs violated a decree in the law that “[broadcasting] cannot contain programs that contravene gender equality, encourage repression and abuse towards women.”
The RTÜK ordered to impose the highest level of administrative fine for channel A9. The TV channel will pay a fine of 5 percent of last month’s advertising revenue and will cease broadcasting five times.
Oktar had entered into a war of words with Erbaş following the latter’s criticism.
“[Diyanet employees] earn their salaries from income and taxes coming from casinos and [alcoholic] beverage factories. Have your ever made a statement about these issues? Have you ever raised your voice about this? You have kept silent,” said Oktar.
On his program, Oktar surrounds himself with surgically enhanced women, who he refers to as his “kittens,” while discussing religious and social issues. He has been described as the “most notorious cult leader in Turkey” and has written numerous conspiracy theory-filled books on creationism and freemasonry.