It’s not a very good defense, but Oktar’s allies have put together a long, long series of webpages trying to argue that Oktar was railroaded — I link to it here in the interests of fairness, although I don’t believe any of it. The core of their claim is that evidence against him was illegally obtained (probably true, in part — I don’t think Erdogan’s government respects the idea of justice — and that he was not part of a criminal organization, but rather, they were just an open-minded circle of friends, which I do not believe for an instant. It was, maybe is, a cult, with Oktar at the top. There was a tremendous flow of money through his organization that allowed him to create international conferences and publish books of propaganda that he sent around the world.
Also, most strangely, throughout the defense they assert that the accused are all well-off, from wealthy families, therefore they couldn’t possibly be guilty of criminal activities! Yeah, right. For instance, one set of charges is that Oktar was a sexual abuser, and several of the women (the ones he called “kittens”) stepped forward to testify against him. This can’t be!
The women who claim to have been sexually abused are well-educated and capable of expressing themselves very well; among them are a doctor of medicine, even a lawyer. None of them are people who would remain silent in the face of harassment that continues for years. They are not people who can be made to comply with such a thing with various suggestions either, because they are of high socio-cultural levels, have university degrees, they are not ignorant. There is no question of corrupting their will through various explanations.
Women of high socio-cultural levels can’t be victimized, I guess, and can’t possibly be persuaded to submit to an oppressive influence. Except, of course, when the police pressure them to turn on Adnan Oktar, then their will can be quickly corrupted.
They are also the victims of a conspiracy by orthodox Muslims to destroy Oktar’s liberal, enlightened organization. Let’s not forget that this was an organization dedicated to an anti-science position, promoting creationism, with a creepy collection of women made up to look like dolls and recite the writings of Adnan Oktar. Liberal, it wasn’t. OK, maybe it was liberal compared to fundamentalist Islamic clerics, but that isn’t saying much.
But I do think the defense has a point when they bring up the magnitude of the arrests. The Turkish police rounded up everyone in a massive sweep.
Through this scheme, Adnan Oktar and 200 of his friends, men and women who have no past convictions, and are university graduates from respectable families, were collected from their homes in totality, kept in police custody for eight days under very harsh circumstances and then sent to prison.This court case has been underway for 2 years in Turkey, with a number of violations of international human rights and the Turkish Constitution.
This is a very unique case with 226 defendants, 167 of whom were detained for a term of 17 months until December 2019, when 91 of the defendants (including 3 lawyers), and 4 more in February 2020, were released by the court, which ruled to execute judicial control measures of an “international travel ban” and “ban to leave the house” (house arrest) for all. 78 defendants, including Adnan Oktar, are still in Silivri High-Security Prison, Istanbul.
I’d add that a sentence of 1,075 years is excessive and vindictive for someone who was a non-violent offender (although he did have a cache of guns, so maybe there’s more to that). If you want to make a case that Turkish justice is brutal and unfair, I’d be receptive. Trying to argue that Adnan Oktar was just one of a casual circle of friends who promoted enlightenment ideals…well, that’s just bullshit and you’ve gone too far.
Also, although as an American I shouldn’t complain about corrupt prison systems, Silivri High-Security Prison isn’t exactly the kind of white-collar country club prison where you can do easy time.