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Daily News Analysis

How did Oktar (alias Harun Yahya) and his cult operate for so long?

Crescent International

Recent sentencing of Adnan Oktar in Turkey to 1000 years in prison leaves more questions than answers.

Oktar is known to many unsuspecting Muslims in the English-speaking world through his pen-name Harun Yahya.

After his arrest in 2018, Turkish media reported some details of his financial empire which exceeded hundreds of millions of US dollars.

To Muslims outside Turkey, Oktar was known through his well-published colorful books and decent quality videos championing Islam in sloganeering manner using semi-scientific language.

In Turkey, many knew him as a buffoon and a sexual predator whose activities spanned many decades.

Nevertheless, Oktar continued his cult’s criminal activities until 2018 with no significant clap down by the authorities.

While the Turkish media did report on his sophisticated fraudulent business operations within and outside Turkey, this fact begs the question: could Oktar have gotten away with what he was doing without some official cover?

Even though the mainstream Turkish media reported through members of the Fetullah Gulen cult in various governmental agencies, Oktar was able to operate freely.

This is only part of the picture.

He continued his activities for some time even after the Gulenists were rounded up and that cult dismantled.

It is also widely known that Oktar’s cult has been blackmailing influential people, including politicians.

His cult used to provide prostitutes to some of them.

These politicians have not been named so far.

Oktar’s recent court case also revealed that there were several adult-age children of Turkey’s powerful business and political elite who supported his organization.

These offspring of the elite also remain unnamed.

Are they still in positions of power and influence?

The deeper question which has also been avoided is, why would the Turkish state system tolerate his cult for decades?

In the 1980s and 1990s, Turkey’s socio-political landscape was heavily controlled.

Since the AKP came to power, the control system has become more sophisticated.

The current government was brought to power two decades ago by the Muslim masses desiring an Islamic-based system in Turkey.

Oktar’s decades-long bizarre and illegal activities were an open secret.

Using the mask of Islam, his cult tarnished its name.

It does not have a large following inside Turkey.

Oktar’s detention would have immediately delighted AKP’s constituency.

Thus, the question is, why did the government not clamp down on Oktar’s activities earlier?

The Gulen connection and other explanations offered by the Turkish media do not even begin to answer this question. They only offer a simplistic overview for mass consumption.

The Turkish government has detained many political opponents for activities far less serious than Oktar’s decades-long criminal career.

Interestingly, his political mingling does not only include questionable political associations inside Turkey but also abroad.

As revealed in a lengthy report by the Middle East Eye, Oktar was very cozy with far-right Zionists like Yehuda Glick and Rabbi Meir Lau.

Why would the Israeli far-right associate with a marginalized cultist like Oktar?

His cult certainly did not have the political influence to sway Turkish or the broader Muslim masses into the pro-Israel camp.

While it is heartening to see that Oktar’s criminal cult has been dismantled, it does not clear up the murky waters around this most bizarre and well-financed outfit.

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