Fulya is a Turkish woman of 36. Tall, thin, with peroxide blonde hair, hazel eyes, penciled eyebrows and full lips. When she enters a fancy restaurant on the European banks of the Bosporus in Istanbul’s fashionable Bebek neighborhood, almost all eyes turn to look at her. Even though Fulya (not her real name), who’s the daughter of the CEO of a large Turkish company, seems to leave a trail of stardust behind her, her work is not especially glitzy – she works for an NGO in Istanbul.
Before that, Fulya was a journalistic commentator on Turkey and the Middle East, appearing both in print and on-air. She held those jobs while she was, for more than a decade, a member of a religious sex cult led by a person named Adnan Oktar. According to Fulya, for the last four years she pursued her career as a journalist even though she was a captive of the idiosyncratic cult, following a failed first attempt to escape. She’d made an appointment with a doctor in a hospital in an effort to flee, but Oktar’s people seized her as she was entering the hospital and forced her into a car. After that, she relates, she was imprisoned in a room in one of the Istanbul compounds owned by the cult, managing her career mostly via computer and under close scrutiny, and leaving the room only to take part in the cult’s activities.
Fulya says she knew she would never escape if she remained in the cult’s central walled-in, high-surveillance compound. Accordingly, she quarreled repeatedly with Oktar, until, less than a year ago, he ordered her to be moved to another compound he owns. There, after managing to get a message out to her father, she organized a getaway. At a prearranged moment, she ran out to the yard with only her ID card and the pajamas she was wearing, got into her father’s waiting car and fled, as the cult’s staff tried to catch her.
FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR