33 suspects sought in probe into televangelist Adnan Oktar
Adnan Oktar (C) is seen with his "kittens" in this file photo
Detention warrants were issued for 33 suspects as part of an ongoing probe into the controversial Turkish televangelist Adnan Oktar on Oct. 22.
The Istanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office issued the warrants for the suspects, 23 of whom are being sought in Istanbul, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
Police squads conducted raids in 11 provinces including Istanbul.
Oktar was remanded in July along with 168 others for allegedly committing numerous crimes.
His group has been accused of crimes including establishing a criminal organization, child sexual abuse, sexual intercourse with a minor, kidnapping, violating tax law, and violating the anti-terrorism law.
Oktar, who is also known abroad by his pen name Harun Yahya, hosted talk show programs on his television channel, A9, on which he has discussed Islamic values and sometimes danced with young women he calls his “kittens” and sang with young men, who he calls his “lions.”
On Oct. 4, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality teams demolished parts of Oktar’s playboy-style mansion, which had been built without a permit.
The mansion was also used as a television set for Oktar’s unusual shows, where he mixed religious sermons with dancing.
In 2006, Oktar wrote the Atlas of Creation, 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.
His critics dismissed him a cult leader who used religion as cover for criminal activities.