An invitation to meet Mr Adnan Oktar (aka Harun Yahya, aka Adnan Hoca) - "future ruler of the entire world"?
I received a phone call from Mr Oktar's representative, Seda Aral, correcting "minsinformation" about Oktar, and explaining why his successful attempt to shut down Richard Dawkins website in Turkey was entirely justified. Oktar styles himself a defender of freedom of speech, and insists he was defamed.
Actually Oktar also attempted to get e.g. The God Delusion banned in Turkey, despite the fact that it says nothing about Oktar.
Dawkins explains why Oktar is a world-class nincompoop here. It's hilarious.
Despite the offer of an all-expenses-paid trip to Turkey as the guest of Mr Oktar, I'm not going.
It seems many others have received such offers, such as this writer for New Humanist (scroll down and you'll see one of the comments is from "Nathan" who also received an invitation). Oktar's budget for self-promotion seems to have no limits - as Dawkins points out, OUP estimated the cost of producing his Atlas at half a million quid. Where's the money coming from (there's a clue below)?
Why aren't I going? I am not nearly as well-known as Dawkins, of course, so I don't much mind appearing at low-key events such as this one in London, because I don't think I am providing much "oxygen of publicity", and may succeed in casting a few doubts into the minds of the audience.
However, Oktar is different - he's powerful and, I suspect, dangerous, and I wouldn't feel comfortable taking his money. The Dawkins episode is nothing compared to some of the other stuff it seems Oktar has got up to. He stands convicted by a Turkish court and faces a three year prison term. Oktar is appealing against the conviction. While this conviction has been reported in the West (see Reuters), the sheer scale of the various allegations being made against Oktar (in court and out) has not yet received much attention over here. To date, it's only the Dawkins website ban that's attracted interest.
For example, there have been some very serious allegations about cult activity:
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Oktar insists he is simply the victim of conspiracy.
Oktar, also known as Adnan Hoca, was arrested after "Operation Adnan Hoca" which involved 2,000 Turkish police officers, according to this quite amazing story from the Turkish Daily News.
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