Turkey Arrests Islamic Cult Leader, Issues Arrest Warrants For Over 200 Followers


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Joshua Gill Religion Reporter
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Turkish authorities arrested an Islamic cult leader and televangelist and 168 of his followers Thursday on charges of child sexual abuse, blackmail and organizing a criminal gang.

Authorities detained Adnan Oktar and his followers a week prior during raids in Istanbul in which they also discovered and seized several guns, ammunition, an armored vehicle and a bulletproof vest. Locals alleged that Oktar and his followers kidnapped and abused girls aged 10 to 17 and even featured some of them on their television channel A9, which aired Islamic theological discussions and teachings on social issues. (RELATED: ‘Disgrace’: Trump Confronts Turkey’s Erdogan Over Jailed American Pastor)

In addition to formally arresting Oktar and seizing his property, Turkish authorities issued arrest warrants for 234 people associated with his group.

Ceylan Ozgul, who used to appear on some of Oktar’s shows, alleged that she escaped Oktar and his followers in 2017 after spending 10 years trapped in their television network, according to The Associated Press. She claimed the group sexually abused female minors.

Elvan Kocak, a Turkish man who lives in Austria, filed a lawsuit against Oktar in early 2018 after seeing two of his daughters appear on Oktar’s show. Kocak alleged that Oktar had kidnapped his daughters.

Oktar’s channel was fined and some of his shows censored in February for featuring theological discussions surrounded by women whom Oktar referred to as “kittens.”

Trial is pending for Oktar and his followers.

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