|Turkish "televangelist" Adnan Oktar on March 31, 2010.|
(CC-BY-SA-4.0,3.0,2.5,2.0,1.0 Harun Yahya International/Wikipedia)
In a piece written by the Associated Press and Michael Bachner, the Times of Israel tells us:
Turkish police on Wednesday detained a controversial Islamic “televangelist” who has an anti-Semitic past, and were seeking hundreds of people linked to him for alleged crimes including forming a criminal gang, fraud, blackmail and sexual abuse.This story is interesting to me, personally, because I briefly rubbed shoulders with this group in the not too distant past.
Istanbul police said warrants were issued against Adnan Oktar and 234 of his followers and that financial crime units were carrying out operations in Istanbul and four other cities to detain them.
I was in contact with one of their executives concerning peace prospects between Palestinian-Arabs and the State of the Jews. There was even some possibility that I might fly to Istanbul to visit with them as a pro-Israel writer and blogger as part of a larger outreach program.
I found Adnan Oktar and his smart harem interesting because they seemed to be pushing against the boundaries of Islam within the increasingly Islamist country of Turkey.
In my brief discussions with them, and through my readings of some of their writers, the very last thing that I saw was antisemitism.
On the contrary, Oktar and his people seemed to be genuinely going out of their way to be fair in their stance on the Long Arab War Against the Jews of the Middle East. If anything - although I understand that his opinion has evolved over time - the organization leaned in favor of Israel and seemed to be genuinely interested in opening a reasonable dialogue with anyone interested in a peaceful solution.
Oktar reminded me a bit of a Turkish "Hugh Hefner," although more distinguished and handsome than Hugh. But like Hefner, he fancied himself a cultural critic and a man with the financial and intellectual resources to push back against the stifling, prevailing norms of his culture. Unlike Hefner, he is actually a prolific writer, although I cannot attest to the quality of his insights, some of which are said to be anti-Darwinian.
What I have wondered for a number of years, now, however, is how a guy like this can maintain a small sexually-oriented, semi-political empire and pseudo-cult that insists upon its Islamic nature under an increasingly orthodox Islamist regime like that of Erdogan's?
I guess now I have my answer.
He could not.
In any case, it seems to me that if you want to understand the ideological drift of Turkey then keeping an eye on the fate of Oktar and his people would offer a clue.