Controversial Turkish televangelist arrested - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Controversial Turkish televangelist arrested

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Turkish police officers escort televangelist Adnan Oktar after his arrest in Istanbul. (Getty Images via CNN) Turkish police officers escort televangelist Adnan Oktar after his arrest in Istanbul. (Getty Images via CNN)

(CNN) -- Police arrested controversial Islamic televangelist Adnan Oktar in an early-morning raid on his upscale home in Turkey's largest city, according to state news agency Anadolu.

More than 160 people with links to Oktar were rounded up in the operation led by the police's financial crimes department across five provinces. A total of 235 people were sought by the authorities.

According to Anadolu, the group is accused of a long list of crimes including sex abuse, kidnapping of minors and sexual intercourse with a minor.

Oktar, also known by the name Harun Yahya, promoted his own version of Islam through discussions that aired on his TV channel.

Many of his TV appearances were bizarre, from dancing to the hit song "Gangnam Style" to surrounding himself with glamorous, scantily dressed young women he referred to as "kittens."

Oktar is the author of the "Atlas of Creation" a book in which he claims to challenge Darwin's Theory of Evolution. According to his website he has authored 300 books.

In the 1990s, he recruited hundreds of young women and men into his group, which many in Turkey regard as a cult. But most people have seen little of a world that seems to have been shrouded in mystery.

A journalist who in June 2015 got rare access to two of Oktar's compounds on the Asian side of the Bosphorus described it as a surreal experience. In one of the compounds, most of the rooms were designed as bedrooms, gaudily decorated with mirrors over the beds.

According to Anadolu, police found guns, rifles, bullets, body armor and an armored vehicle at Oktar's Istanbul compound.

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