Survivors of Popular Turkish Televangelist Adnan Oktar who was jailed in January for 1,045 years in Turkey on a series of child abuse and molestation charges, have detailed their suffering in the hands of the disgraced preacher.
The televangelist was found guilty of rape, child abuse, espionage and blackmail in January 2021 and one woman, Seda Isildar, who stayed eight years after joining his church at just 15, revealed Oktar sexually abused her when she was 16 and forced her to have a nose job.
He was arrested in 2018 along with dozens of his followers in police raids on his properties in Istanbul and other cities as part of an investigation into his group.
The 64-year-old preacher has denied all of the charges, and is expected to appeal.
The conservative Islamic preacher frequently broadcast his sermons surrounded by scantily-clad women.
Speaking to the Sunday Times, several of the women who lived with him, whom he called ‘kittens’, while the men who were under his rule, known as his ‘lions’, have now opened up about the terrible abuse he put them through.
One woman told the newspaper she was sexually abused by the cult leader when she was 16 and forced to get a rhinoplasty without general anaesthestic when she was 20.
She said she’s still traumatised by the operation: ‘I can still remember the hammer. I was counting how many times they were hitting the hammer and the chisel to my nose,’ she said.
Seda Isildar, revealed she joined the religious group aged 15 through school friends in the 1980s.
Now aged 50, she revealed Oktar forced her to marry him when he was in his 30s and she was still a teenager. After eight years spent with the evangelist, Selda says she managed to escape and moved to Canada.
Another woman, Ceylan Ozgul, joined the group at the age of 24 in 2006 and became one of the groups’ most prominent members until she left and raised abuse allegations against Oktar.
She described life with the group as a ‘prison’ and added that nobody in Turkey took Oktar seriously because he liked to surround himself with scantily clad-women.
While Islam preaches that women cover up their bodies, Oktar argued this was due to a misinterpretation and that women should protect their ‘inner beauty’ with their looks.
This scheme was called the ‘turnstile system’ and countless women were brought to the cult this way over the years.
Sahin, another man who claimed he brought 200 women into the cult, said he was brainwashed by Oktar into thinking what he was doing was right.
During the hearings Oktar told the presiding judge in December that he had close to 1,000 girlfriends.
‘There is an overflowing of love in my heart for women. Love is a human quality. It is a quality of a Muslim,’ he said in another hearing in October.
He added on another occasion: ‘I am extraordinarily potent.’
Asked about 69,000 contraception pills found in his home by the police, Oktar said they were used to treat skin disorders and menstrual irregularities.