Gov’t-linked defence firm to blame for security threats in next polls - Kılıçdaroğlu

Turkey’s main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Friday said that a defence firm linked to government would be to blame in case of any incident threatening election security in the polls scheduled for next year.

“If anything happens to disrupt the security of the polls, SADAT and the (presidential palace (of Erdoğan) will be responsible,” T24 news site cited the CHP leader as saying in a press statement in front of SADAT headquarters in Istanbul.

“Turkey will never be handed over to paramilitary organisations, companies or individuals,” he added.

Private contractor SADAT Defence Consultancy was founded in 2012 by a former Turkish brigadier general Adnan Tanrıverdi, who was expelled from the military in 1996 as part of an anti-Islamist purge. The company has been linked to the deployment of Syrian mercenaries in conflicts including Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh, where Turkey backed Azerbaijan in last year’s clashes with Armenia over the disputed territory.

Tanrıverdi served  as chief security advisor to President Erdoğan, before being forced to resign in January of last year following a controversial statement referencing Islamic teachings. He has also served as the president of the Association of Justice Defenders (ASDER), which formed the basis of SADAT.

SADAT is a paramilitary organization, Kılıçdaroğlu said, that trains “terrorists”  for unconventional warfare, including “raids, ambush, destruction, assassination and terror,’’ T24 reported.

The CHP will hold organizations like SADAT “responsible for anything that overshadows the election or violates the security of the election,” the CHP leader added.

Last year, exiled Turkish organized crime leader Sedat Peker on Twitter accused SADAT of sending weapons to the al-Nusra Front, an jihadist group that aims to overthrow the Assad Regime, in Syria in 2015. A subsequent opposition motion calling for an parliamentary investigation into SADAT’s alleged activities was rejected Turkey’s ruling alliance.

Peker also made headlines over his claim that SADAT may be involved in assassinations of Turkish dissidents both within the country and abroad.

Erdoğan has called Turkey’s next parliamentary and presidential elections, scheduled for June 2023, a fork in the road for the country and the nation.

The significance of the upcoming elections goes beyond the future of the AKP and its ruling People’s Alliance, daily BirGün cited Erdoğan as saying in March.

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