BAV (Science Research Foundation) and its Activities
BAV is a radical fundamentalist foundation established in 1991 by Sheikh Adnan Oktar. It is an integral part of the rise of fundamentalist Islam in Turkey. BAV is not an independent organization and the source(s) of its funding remain very obscure. Its activities and publications utilize millions of dollars each year, so it is difficult to imagine that this amount of funding can be supplied just by donations, as some at BAV claim. The newspaper Hurriyet recently revealed that Adnan Oktar and BAV have strong connections with Necmettin Erbakan, the former leader of various fundamentalist parties. The newspaper Cumhuriyet recently reported that other support for BAV comes from Fettullahcilar – a tariqa established by Fettullah Gulen, who used to preach the evil and wickedness of evolution (Cumhuriyet, June 29, 1999).
BAV has also published several books under the pen name Harun Yahya and has delivered copies to the public free of charge. It is generally believed that Harun Yahya is actually a commission formed by BAV, although recent reports have claimed that Harun Yahya is Necmettin Erbakan or a collaboration between Erbakan and Adnan Oktar (Hurriyet, September 13-15, 1999).
However, considering the vast range of subjects and the sheer number of books – from The Qur’an-Islam, Free Masonry and Anti-Semitism to Evolution and Molecular Biology – it is unlikely that Harun Yahya is a single person. Both BAV and Harun Yahya are still poorly understood. No one claiming to be Harun Yahya has made any public appearances or has granted any interviews.
BAV has a long history of contact with American creationists, including receiving assistance from ICR. Duane Gish and Henry Morris visited Turkey in 1992, just after the establishment of BAV, and participated in a creationist conference in Istanbul. Morris, the former president of ICR, became well acquainted with Turkish fundamentalists and Islamic sects during his numerous trips to Turkey in search of Noah’s Ark (Acts & Facts 1998a,1998b). BAV’s creationist conferences in April and June 1998 in Istanbul and Ankara, which included many US creationists, developed after Harun Yahya started to publish his anti-evolution books, which were delivered to the public free of charge or given away by the daily fundamentalist newspapers Akit and Zaman as promotions.