He's also well-known for going through the Turkish courts in order to have websites shut down that are critical of him, and he may have just achieved his greatest victory by having Richard Dawkins's official website blocked there. Earlier this year he tried, and failed, to have The God Delusion banned in Turkey, but no doubt he'll see this as a valuable consolation prize. His office has claimed the courts blocked the site because it "violated" Oktar's personality, as his press officer explained:
"We are not against freedom of speech or expression but you cannot insult people. We found the comments hurtful. It was not a scientific discussion. There was a line and the limit has been passed. We have used all the legal means to stop this site. We asked them to remove the comments but they did not."As the Guardian points out, Turkey's restrictions on free speech are on ongoing obstacle to its attempts to join the EU and banning Dawkins's website is unlikely to do this any favours. As for the Dawkins site, they've responded in the perfect way – by putting a banner at the top of the homepage that reads "Banned in Turkey".
Breaking news, Friday Noon: I just got off the phone with Seda Aral, who works for Adnan Oktar at what they call the Science Research Foundation in Istanbul. She invited me out to Istanbul to interview Mr Oktar (I'm tempted, if only so I can see the Bazaar), and we had a little chat about the age of the earth (she said he is not a Young Eather, he just does not accept that species evolved), Oktar's take on EU membership (he's pro apparently) and why he got Dawkins's site banned. She says that Dawkins.net had numerous offensive comments about Mr Oktar on it. They informed the site of this and asked for the posts to be removed but got no reply. Oktar then felt they had no other option than to use Turkish law, which is very strict about offensiveness to get the site banned. Here's what she says about it:
"Istanbul’s Sisli 2nd Criminal Court of Peace has banned the site in Turkey on the grounds that Adnan Oktar’s personality was violated by this site. The court reached the decision to ban the site on September 3. A lawsuit is filed for the damages of mental anguish against Richard Dawkins in the amount of 8000 YTL (about 4000 Euro)".Hmmm. Throughout our very pleasant conversation she emphasised that though there is a biggish gulf between what Mr Oktar and New Humanist argue, he is a very open and respectful sort of chap and would welcome debate (he famously invited Dawkins to debate him, something that the good prof has vowed not to do). I suppose the question is should those of us who "believe" in evolution bother to give any time or the "oxygen of publicity" to creationists, or just ignore them? What do you think - let us know in the poll on the right – Caspar Melville, editor.