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Turkish delight

Animals today are the same as they always were, according to Yayha.

Prominent Turkish creationist and propagandist gets three years for corruption, reports Ted Nield

Geoscientist Online 16 May 2008

The Turkish author Adnan Oktar was sentenced to three years in prison on Friday May 9 for "creating an illegal organisation for personal gain", the state-run Anatolian news agency has said. Born in 1956, Oktar (who is also known as "Adnan Hodja", or "master") is the inspiration behind a well-endowed organisation, based in Turkey, which champions the belief that God created the world in six days as told in the Bible and the Koran.

One of his books, the lavishly produced “Atlas of Creation,” has been sent, unsolicited, to scientists around the world. Even members of the US Congress have had copies mailed to them. Weighing about 7 kilos, with a bright red cover and almost 800 lavishly illustrated pages, the cost of the postage alone beggars belief. Signed under yet another of Oktar's pseudonyms – Harun Yahya – thousands of copies were also mailed to universities and scientific institutes in France. Until then, such literature was rare in France, which prides itself on being the most secular nation in Europe – if not the world. French scientists spoke out vigorously against the book, which was duly impounded by the French school system – which is highly centralised – so that children were not exposed to it.  The Geological Society of London has not received one (yet).

“In our country we are used to nonsense like this” Professor Kevin Padian, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, told the New York Times. He also told NYT that people who had received copies were “just astounded at its size and production values and equally astonished at what a load of crap it is."

Yahya resembles the fundamentalist creationists familiar in the west, in that he believes that the world was created by a deity in six days; but he is no "young Earther". Oktar holds to the belief that creatures living today are the same as those in the past.

Oktar had been tried with 17 other defendants in an Istanbul court. The sentence came after an earlier trial that began in 2000, after Oktar and 50 members of his foundation were arrested the year before. According to the news agency Reuters, in that court case Oktar had been charged with "using threats for personal benefit and creating an organisation with the intent to commit a crime". These charges were initially dropped but another court then took them up.

Oktar's publishing house has published dozens of books, distributed in more than 150 countries and translated into more than 50 languages. Many Turkish commentators say the books (over 200 of them), are probably the work of many hands. Oktar says they are all his own work. He also says that the cases against him were part of a plot by Freemasons, and that his ideas were the origin of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's conversion to Catholicism, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy's recent declarations on religion.

According to sources close to Oktar, an appeal is in preparation.