Turkish TV preacher jailed for 1,000 years for sex crimes

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - ISTANBUL, Jan 11 — A Turkish Muslim televangelist who surrounded himself with scantily-clad women on TV was jailed for more than 1,000 years today for sex crimes, local media reported.

Adnan Oktar preached conservative views while women he called his “kittens”—many of whom appeared to have had plastic surgery—danced around him in the TV studio.

The 64-year-old was detained in June 2018 as part of a crackdown on his group by the financial crimes unit of the Istanbul police.

He was sentenced to 1,075 years for crimes including sexual assault, sexual abuse of minors, fraud and attempted political and military espionage, the private NTV broadcaster reported. 

Some 236 suspects have been on trial in the case, 78 of whom are under arrest, according to the official Anadolu news agency.

The hearings have featured lurid details and harrowing sex crime allegations.

Oktar told the presiding judge in December that he had close to 1,000 girlfriends. 

“There is an overflowing of love in my heart for women. Love is a human quality. It is a quality of a Muslim,” he said in another hearing in October.

He added on another occasion: “I am extraordinarily potent.”

Oktar first came to public attention in the 1990s when he was the leader of a sect that was caught up in multiple sex scandals.

His online A9 television channel began broadcasting in 2011, drawing denunciations from Turkey’s religious leaders.

One of the women at his trial, identified only as CC, told the court that Oktar had repeatedly sexually abused her and other women.

Some of the women he had raped were forced to take contraceptive pills, CC told the court.

Asked about 69,000 contraception pills found in his home by the police, Oktar said they were used to treat skin disorders and menstrual irregularities.

He also dismissed any link to a group led by US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkish authorities accuse of orchestrating a coup attempt in 2016.

Oktar is a creationist who rejects the Darwinian theory of evolution and has written a 770-page book called “The Atlas of Creation” under the pen name, Harun Yahya. — AFP

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