The number of arrests in a crackdown against Adnan Oktar, who runs a shady cult implicated in numerous crimes, rose to 169 yesterday. A court ordered the arrest of Cüneyt Özyaşar, Oktar's bodyguard and alleged henchman according to Turkish media. Özyaşar was captured in the capital Ankara and was brought to Istanbul for interrogation.
Two weeks ago Oktar and 186 others were detained after a string of nationwide raids against the cult. Following this, Oktar along with 168 others were arrested while the rest were released with judiciary control after lengthy interrogations by police.
The charge sheet against Oktar and other suspects includes a long list of crimes, but it focuses on his organization's alleged espionage and sexual abuse as well as blackmail. The 62-year-old Oktar is known for surrounding himself with women, and according to media reports his followers blackmail women by secretly recording their sexual acts, and Oktar himself brainwashes the women, mostly from wealthy families, to join his cult.
The cult leader is primarily known for a series of books he wrote challenging the theory of evolution under the pseudonym "Harun Yahya." He first made headlines in the 1980s when he was arrested for promoting a theocracy. He established a foundation in 1995 and started publishing books on creationism. The cult leader was charged with blackmail and was arrested in September 1999, but the charges were dismissed after a two-year-long trial. After a court found him mentally ill, he spent 10 months in a psychiatric hospital and after his release kept a relatively low profile.