Turkish Creationism Takes Root!

In its 9 June, 2007, edition, The Washington Times, one of the most important US dailies, carried a report by Nicholas Birch titled “Turkish creationism takes root – 3 in 4 residents reject Darwin’s evolution theory.” The article referred to the impact in Europe and contents of Harun Yahya’s Atlas of Creation, as well as Adnan Oktar’s press conference attended by a number of major foreign media organizations such as the New York Times, Le Monde, Reuters, Stern and Newsweek.

The article in question, which has been published in thousands of newspapers and magazines and web sites, contained the following statements:

An Islamic version of "scientific creationism" has found fertile soil in Turkey, where three in four residents reject Charles Darwin”s theory of evolution.

Its leading exponent is Tarkan Yavas, who sports shoulder-length hair and expensive suits and says his aim in life is "to cleanse Turkey of the atheist materialism and the immorality Darwin opened the door to."

Mr. Yavas is the public face of the Science Research Foundation (BAV), a group set up in 1990.

Headed by Adnan Oktar, a university dropout turned charismatic preacher, BAV”s latest publication is "Atlas of Creation," a 770-page, 13-pound tome the group sent to scientists, journalists and schools in Britain, France, Scandinavia and Turkey in February.

… Though details vary, the account of creation in both the Bible and the Koran says God created everything in six days.

In the atlas, page after page juxtaposes photographs of fossils and living species, arguing that the similarities disprove assertions that species adapt over time.

The political message is different, with evolution blamed for communism, Nazism and — under a photograph of the TwinTowers in flames — September 11.

"Darwinism is the only philosophy which values conflict," the text explains. "We”re fighting a cultural war on scientific lines," Mr. Yavas said.

He and others like him have found fertile soil in Turkey. A survey last year showed that only 25 percent of Turks accepted evolution. Even science teachers are affected, with a 2005 poll showing almost 50 percent questioning or rejecting the theory.

"Turkey has become the headquarters of creationism in the Middle East," said Haluk Ertan, a geneticist at IstanbulUniversity.

"Not just the Middle East, the world," Mr. Yavas said. "Darwinism is dying in Turkey."

… The BAV has organized hundreds of conferences on creationism in the past decade as well as a recent flurry of American-style "creation museums."

Yesterday, Mr. Oktar held a press conference aboard a luxury yacht off Istanbul“s northern Bosporus shores near the mouth of the Black Sea and said the evils of the world were a direct result of Darwinism.

"Communism, fascism, and Freemasons stand on the tenets of Darwinism, and the world power of capitalism stands on the same. … Hitler and Mao were both Darwinists," Reuters news agency quoted him as saying.

"We will not deceive ourselves that scientists have a monopoly on truth," he said.

Mr. Oktar, speaking in Turkish, said a million of his books and movies were being downloaded from Internet sites every month.

Copies of his books and movies had been distributed in 170 countries, he added.

Scores of books in different languages, purportedly written by Mr. Oktar under the pen name Harun Yahya, were on display aboard the yacht bearing titles such as "The Dark Spell of Darwinism," "A Historical Lie: The Stone Age" and "God”s Gentle Artistry."