Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Adnan Oktar and the Kittens of Peace

Michael Lumish

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.

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.
This story is interesting to me, personally, because I briefly rubbed shoulders with this group in the not too distant past.

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.



  2. "In my brief discussions with them, and through my readings of some of their writers, the very last thing that I saw was antisemitism."

    It is possible that he has a past of such antisemitism which he has recanted. It would also be possible that the Turkish Islamists are against him because of his recanting of the antisemitism and trumping up charges as justification. If so, touting any antisemitic past would engender greater sympathy from the West for the Islamists' reaction than touting his recanting of that antisemitism.

    Pure speculation, but it accounts for the facts presented here.

    1. Yes, my understanding is that he recanted.

  3. Yes, Helter Skelter is a McCartney tune. So?

    1. Most of us tend to think of Lennon as the edgy one.

    2. True, he tended to be, but nothing is set in stone. But, Paul could mix it up too occasionally.

  4. A broader issue is the Sultan Erdogan is further consolidating power. Turkey is more or less a dictatorship now. Certainly more authoritarian than the worst abuses of Hosni Mubarek in Egypt.

    1. Furthermore, Turkey is part of NATO.

      Technically, if Turkey were to engage Israel militarily, NATO, including the US, would be diplomatically obliged to support Turkey.

      Am I wrong?

    2. NATO is a defensive posture treaty. The US or any member is not obliged to engage as a partner in an aggressive war. This is why NATO partners were not obliged to engage in attacking Libya. The problem though is that everyone seems to ignore that Turkey pressured NATO not to admit Cyprus because Turkey illegally occupies the northern part of the country, ethnically cleansed it, stole all their property and illegally sold it to citizens of other NATO states. It will be interesting to see what happens when or if Turkey decides they want Thracian Greece that they lost in the first Balkan War in 1912. Greece IS a NATO member and has a robust military.

    3. Why do I get the sense that the EU, the UN, and NATO will likely give Turkey a pass?

    4. The big dispute in the E-Ring at the Pentagon is whether to sell Turkey F-35's given its hostility to the west, non compliance to NATO, its Islamic tendencies and its slide into fascist autocracy. On the other side of the argument is that Turkey is tier-2 partner in the F-35 program - they MAKE parts of it and second, there's a ton of money to be made selling the planes to them. I doubt this has risen to the attention of the White House yet, but it will, eventually.

  5. Forever in our hearts:

    Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, Naftali Fraenkel:

    May G*D avenge their innocent blood.

  6. And there is this bit of news from Elder's joint: