Adnan Oktar, a prominent TV personality accused of running a criminal cult, faces 24 criminal charges, prosecutors revealed on Friday. An indictment against Oktar and 225 other suspects were concluded and will be presented to an Istanbul court which will set a trial date for Oktar and others.
Oktar was arrested last summer, along with a large number of his followers, as he was fleeing his mansion in Istanbul. He is among 171 jailed suspects. Prosecutors charge him and others with attempting political or military espionage, running a criminal organization, attempted murder, blackmail, issuing threats, rape and other lesser charges.
The 63-year-old Oktar was a household name in the 2000s but his prominence dates back to the 1980s when he was arrested for "promoting theocracy" for his Islamic views. He resurfaced in 1999 when he was charged with blackmail though he was found mentally ill by a court and spent months in a psychiatric hospital before his release. He made a comeback with a series of anti-evolution books and a TV station he launched in 2011. It was his TV shows that shot him to infamy in Turkey as he was criticized for surrounding himself with scantily clad women while spouting religious rhetoric. His lifestyle drew comparisons to the late Hugh Hefner, founder of the U.S. magazine Playboy. Like Hefner, Oktar's lavish mansion was home to surgically enhanced women who were seen in suggestive poses around Oktar during his TV shows.