Erdoğan’s new ally defends Islamic cult leader sentenced to 8,658 years in prison

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Islamist New Welfare Party (YRP) leader Fatih Erbakan on March 29 defended Islamic televangelist cult leader Adnan Oktar who was sentenced to 8,658 years in prison.

Erbakan told broadcaster TV100 that “Is there any footage showing Adnan Oktar’s (sexual) harassment? Of course, I am not going to defend Adnan Oktar. His books are pretty good.”

“Once upon a time, he wrote very good scientific books. Then he committed a crime. You cannot say, ‘Let’s throw the book away, what is written in the book has become useless and harmful’. It’s not scientific. These are the books that (Necmettin) Erbakan also recommended. We also expressed that we do not approve of the last situation he was in,” Erbakan added.

Oktar is a self-described Islamic scholar known for his numerous writings promoting creationism against Darwin’s theory of evolution and anti-Semitism.

In November, a Turkish court sentenced Oktar to 8,658 years in prison over the charges of “leadership of a terrorist organization,” “sexual abuse,” “holding a person against their will,” “torture,” “interruption of the right to education,” and “recording personal data.” In the sentence, Oktar was held responsible for the crimes committed by the members of his organization.

The 67-year-old cult leader who owned a TV channel was arrested in 2018 along with 200 collaborators, following allegations of sexual abuse and kidnapping of minors.

Before his arrest, Oktar ran his own television channel, A9, where he hosted talk shows on Islamic values. On occasion, he was broadcast dancing with young women whom he called his “kittens” and singing with young men, his “lions.”

Fatih Erbakan is also known for his conspiracy theories and Islamist values against women and LGBTI+ rights. During the pandemic, he claimed that Covid-19 vaccine recipients could birth babies that are half monkey, or have birth defects like three ears or five eyes.

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