Number of detentions in case of Turkish televangelist rises to 179

The number of detentions in connection to Adnan Oktar, a notorious religious cult leader and controversial televangelist, rose to 179 on Thursday as police searched for people in Turkey with suspected links to his cult-like organization.

According to a report by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency, police were fired upon when they raided a location as part of simultaneous operations in four provinces. During the operations, they confiscated six truckloads of historic artifacts and antiques along with more than 400 memory sticks, 70 licensed weapons, more than 3,000 bullets and considerable amounts of cash. Police are reportedly now consulting with experts to determine whether the confiscated artifacts are authentic.

Police are searching for 56 others in connection with Oktar, also known as Harun Yahya. On Wednesday, police arrested Oktar along with 171 suspects after the İstanbul Court of Peace ordered the confiscation of 235 suspects’ properties and also appointed a trustee to their companies, organizations and associations.

They also arrested Oktar Babuna, a medical doctor specializing in neurosurgery and a close aide of Oktar.

Oktar’s group has been accused of crimes including establishing a criminal organization, child sexual abuse, sexual intercourse with a minor, kidnapping, violating tax law and violating the anti-terrorism law. Oktar owns a TV channel called A9, from where he broadcasts a show on religious and social issues surrounded by women he refers to as his “kittens.”

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