Erdogan threatens rivals, opposition dreads civil war
The Turkish opposition is talking about secret training camps that belong to the SADAT private military contractor in Anatolia.
There has been a heated - if not relatively horrifying - debate among the Turkish public for a little over two weeks, including politicians, the media, and the people. The leader of the Republican People's Party, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, has been mainly talking about the militias that he said: "Erdoğan has been using and continues to use in dangerous operations domestically and abroad."
The militias Kılıçdaroğlu is talking about are mainly ones that are backed by the SADAT International Defense Consultancy Incorporated, founded and owned by retired General Adnan Tanrıverdi, who was Erdoğan's chief security and military advisor from August 2016 until January 2021.
Kılıçdaroğlu, who held a press conference in front of the headquarters of SADAT a few days ago, as he was denied entry, voiced his concern over the firm's activities at home and abroad, including Erdoğan trying to benefit domestically from the firm's militias in case he suffers from a loss in the upcoming elections.
The concerns addressed by Kılıçdaroğlu were also addressed by the chairperson of the İYİ Parti (the Good Part), Meral Akşener. She underlined the issue of covert SADAT training camps in various cities of Anatolia. Kılıçdaroğlu showed no hesitation to delve into the specifics and the dangerous activities of the PMC, whose goal, according to founder and owner Tanrıverdi, is to "get rid of the secular Turkish Republic and establish an Islamic confederation that includes, besides Turkey, other regional Islamic countries [...] and they must believe in President Erdoğan's ideologies," without naming which countries he meant.
As the aforementioned debate unfolds and intensifies regarding SADAT's goals, aspirations, and plans, both in Turkey and abroad, retired Admiral Türker Ertürk said its activities were "highly dangerous," expecting the PMC to have a perilous role if Erdoğan loses the upcoming election.
The firm, Ertürk said, is dangerously operating in Syria, Libya, and Somalia. "It is training militants on all armed activity, including explosions, ambushes, assassinations, guerilla warfare, and all kinds of terrorist operations, including civil war."
The retired Admiral did not shy away from shining the light on his concerns that the firm could be responsible for transporting thousands of Afghan nationals from the Iranian borders to Turkey, all of whom are between 20-30 years old. "The contractor could consider using these young people in dangerous operations domestically and abroad after training them for combat and terrorist operations."
Erdogan could use the militias "armed and trained by SADAT," Turkish journalist, academic, and strategic affairs expert Erol Mütercimler said. "Most importantly, this firm has close ties with all armed groups in Syria, Libya, and other countries in the region. [SADAT] transported all arms and military equipment to [the groups] after purchasing them from third countries, including Serbia, Hungary, and Ukraine. All of this happened without oversight from the Turkish authorities, despite the Turkish constitution prohibiting any party from carrying out any acts of sabotage against a neighboring country."
Turkish journalist Cengiz Erding held President Erdoğan "responsible for the Syrian crisis since it started." He said SADAT had a pivotal role in terms of military activity in Syria, "including training the Syrian armed groups, from the Free Syrian Army to the Sultan Murad Division, the majority of whose militants are Turkmen, and the Sultan Abdulhamid Han Brigade, among others."
Retired Major General Haldun Solmaztür saw that the firm's activities "posed a danger to Turkey and the region." Through the ties that SADAT has behind closed doors in Syria, Iraq, and Libya, "it would not hesitate to strike Turkey's internal security in light of the complex situation in Syria, especially in Idlib, which is a hotbed for the Al-Nusra Front and all of its factions, who are under the protection of the Turkish Army to prevent the Syrian Army from liberating the city."
He also addressed the fact that this would push many to talk about the possibility of Ankara utilizing the terrorists in Turkey against Erdoğan's opponents.
The Turkish public is continuously talking about how the president would not allow for elections to be held in June 2023 without being certain of their outcome. "Otherwise, he will postpone them for security issues in Turkey or abroad, and he will use SADAT for this plan."
The public acknowledges that Erdoğan could use militias to "terrorize the Turkish people and prevent them from taking to the streets if the elections were to be fraudulent and he emerged as President under a decision from the High Electoral Committee, the supreme authority in that area, and its decisions are indisputable."
Others have previously addressed the possibility of Ankara utilizing the armed groups in the case of confrontations with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Turkey or the North of Syria, as the Turkish Armed Forces are in control of the Syria-Turkey border, backed by the National Front for Liberation founded in Ankara in October 2019.
In light of the talk regarding the ties between the Turkish regime and SADAT, Erdoğan wanted to absolve himself and instead made matters worse. "I have no ties to SADAT International Defense Consultancy Incorporated," he claimed, despite his former chief advisor, who held his post for more than three years. Erdoğan's opposition also published photos showing the firm's owner standing next to the president during meetings on security and the military within the presidential palace in Ankara.
In conclusion, the opposition is accusing the firm of "carrying out dangerous operations that serve President Erdoğan and his plans in Syria, Libya, Somalia, Iraq, and the various countries of the region since the so-called 'Arab Spring', which rendered Turkey a pivotal element in the regional and international arenas." It is now clear that the firm has a hand in some - if not all - of Ankara's successes, in coordination with the Turkish state apparatuses and under "the direct instructions of President Erdoğan," as per Ankin Ozkog, the Vice President of the Republican People's Party.