Turkish police seize fossils worth $10 million from Islamist cult leader’s home

Turkish authorities have seized fossils worth $10 million (78.4 million liras) from the Ankara homes of Islamist cult leader Adnan Oktar, state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Wednesday.

The operation by anti-smuggling units in two homes owned by Oktar in the Pursaklar district followed a tipoff that a member of Oktar’s cult had hid fossils smuggled from abroad in the two-storey home, it said.

At total of 879 fossils were discovered in the raids and the fossils will now be donated to a museum, Anadolu said.

The cult leader’s followers accused of smuggling the fossils are already under arrest.

Oktar was arrested pending trial in 2018 alongside more than 100 of his followers on suspicion of a string of charges, including running a criminal organisation, tax offences, sexual abuse, and counter-terrorism laws.

The 64-year-old was later accused of engaging in political and military espionageand providing intelligence to the U.S. and Israel.

Oktar, famous for his plastic surgery-enhanced assistants, anti-evolution stance and Creationist books, owned the online streaming A9 channel, which for years broadcast programmes of the Islamist televangelist surrounded by his female followers.