Sex, sect and creationism in Turkey

DSince the beginning of this century, it has been impossible for the visitor to the Muslim world to stroll through a bookstore or consult a book stall in the middle of the street without coming across at least one of the inexpensive publications of the prolific Harun Yahia. Under this pseudonym hid Adnan Oktar, born in 1956 in Ankara and become the guru of a creationist sect, whose disciples had two legal facades “foundations”one for the ” Scientific Research “the other for the “defense of national values”.

This pamphleteer was first distinguished by his obsessive denunciation of the supposed links between Zionism and Freemasonry, which would work together to undermine Turkey’s Muslim identity. But he then decided to focus his attacks on Darwinism, accused of being the source of all the evils of modern society. Now at the head of a veritable media empire, Oktar, alias Yahia, could count, in the United States, on the support of the creationist networks of the evangelical right.

A fighting messianism

Adnan Oktar chose for his nickname to claim two prophets of Islam: Harun, the Aaron of the Bible (whose tomb is revered on a Jordanian peak near Petra) and Yahia, the John the Baptist of Christians ( whose decapitated head is supposed to rest in the heart of the Umayyad mosque in Damascus). He asserts, in fact, that “Judgment Day, contrary to the beliefs of many, is approaching and not in the distant future”. He sees signs of the End Times in the burning of oil wells in Kuwait in 1991, or in the reduction of the flow of the Euphrates, due to the construction of a mega-dam in Turkey.

It exalts the figure of Jesus, the Issa of the Koran, considered the penultimate prophet of Islam, who will triumph over the Antichrist during an apocalyptic battle in Syria. This exaltation of Jesus and this demonization of the Antichrist enabled him to consolidate his relations with the American creationists, who relayed his aggressive campaign against Darwinism.

These books, sold at low prices, are naturally published in Turkish, Arabic or Urdu, but also in a dozen other languages.

Oktar/Yahia set up a powerful publishing house, Book Global, dedicated to the global distribution of its “works” with box sets of “Islamic morality” (ten books accompanied by ten multilingual DVDs) and special offers for children. These books, sold at low prices, are naturally published in Turkish, Arabic or Urdu, but also in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Polish, Portuguese, Dutch, Danish, Albanian, Bulgarian or Serbo-Croatian. Their titles speak for themselves: The Evolution Lie, The Creation of the Universe, The Disasters Caused Humanity by Darwinism, The Miracle of Creation in DNA or The collapse of the theory of evolution in twenty questions.

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