Military contractor SADAT wields major influence in Turkish politics - columnist

Turkish private military contractor SADAT, founded by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recently resigned chief military adviser, has a strong influence over the country's domestic and foreign policies, Duvar columnist Zafer Yörük said on Saturday.

Adnan Tanrıverdi, a retired Turkish army general who founded SADAT, resigned from his role as Erdoğan’s adviser in January after telling an audience at a speech that his company was paving the way for the coming of the Mahdi, a messianic figure some Muslims believe will redeem mankind before the world ends.

The company’s executives consist of former military officers known for their close ties to Erdoğan, who claim credit for the failure of the July 15, 2016, coup attempt due to their contribution to the mass anti-coup mobilisation. 

"However, since the formation of the company in 2012, SADAT’s involvement in politics has allegedly gone far beyond this single 'democratic' intervention, according to numerous questions tabled in parliament," Yörük said.

Parliamentarians from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) have accused SADAT of training vigilante militia forces, providing training and equipment to Syrian rebels against the Syrian government. 

The Islamic State (ISIS) and Al Nusra were among groups that SADAT provided military training to, according to former Pentagon official Michael Rubin.

"The government and the minister of defence refused to respond to any of these questions from the parliamentary opposition and no legal investigations have been conducted into SADAT’s affairs," Yörük said.

In addition to its role in the Syrian civil war, SADAT has been playing a significant role in Libya, where Turkey is sending forces to support the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord in its conflict against rivals from the east of the country, the columnist said.

"Parallel to these shipments was the transfer of more than 1,000 jihadists from Syria to Libya and were supervised, according to Russian media, by 88 men, all of whom are SADAT personnel, who also train the jihadists on how to operate the new arms," he said.

On top of its influence on Turkey's foreign policy, the columnist said, SADAT also have a hand in the country's major domestic policy shifts.

"In a statement that came after the failed coup attempt of 2016, Tanrıverdi pointed out that the transition to the presidential system was 'their' recommendation along with the restructuration of the Turkish armed forces, which have been put in effect," Yörük said.
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