Dr. Oktar Babuna, the personal representative of controversial Islamic leader Adnan Okta, was in Israel for several days last week meeting with MKs in an effort to smooth feathers ruffled by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan when he called Zionism “a crime against humanity” in February.
Adnan Oktar, also known as Harun Yahya, is an Islamic revivalist preacher in Turkey known for promoting dialogue with Jews and Israelis despite ongoing tension between Ankara and Jerusalem. He has brought delegations of Israeli Rabbis and political figures to Istanbul for press conferences extolling coexistence on several occasions.
Oktar is a controversial figure due to his assertion, in his book the Atlas of Creation, that the crimes of National Socialism were caused by a belief in Darwinian evolution and the distribution of this volume in French schools without the permission of educational authorities.
Speaking with the Jerusalem Post
on Thursday afternoon, Babuna said that he had met with politicians from the Israel Beyteunu, Shas, Yesh Atid, Meretz and UTJ parties including MKs Nissim Zeev, Dov Lipman and Eli Yishai.
Commenting on Erdogan’s comments critical of Zionism, Babuna told the Post that “Adnan Oktar said if Zionism is the right of Israelis to live in the holy land where their forefathers lived and worshiped then it is perfectly compatible with the Koran.”
“Allah gives the [Jews the] right [to Israel] and nobody can take this away,” he said. Endorsing “an alliance of Israel and Turkey” and calling the Jewish state Turkey’s “natural ally.”
Speaking on Oktar’s behalf, Babuna also issued a “call for unity between the three Abrahamic religions.”
Freshman MK Dov Lipman, who met with Babuna on Sunday, said that he has "always believed in inter-faith dialogue and believed that many of our struggles in this turbulent region can be worked out among clergy. I welcome Adnan Oktar's reaching out to me and hope that we can work together, in conjunction with our governments, towards a long term goal of improved relations with Turkey."