Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said on Friday that SADAT International Defense Consultancy, a company linked to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, would be the culprit if an incident threatens election security in the 2023 polls, the T24 news website reported.
SADAT, Turkey’s first domestic military consultancy firm and a paramilitary organization, was established by Erdoğan’s former aide Adnan Tanrıverdi and 23 retired military officers and on Feb. 28, 2012.
According to SADAT’s founding documents, its mission is to make the Islamic world self-sufficient in terms of military power. Retired general Tanrıverdi said SADAT was set up at the request of officials from Erdoğan’s government.
SADAT has attracted growing scrutiny over US allegations that it trains Syrians who then are deployed to support pro-Turkish forces in war zones such as Libya.
“SADAT is a paramilitary organization. They used to be Erdoğan’s advisers,” the CHP leader said, adding: “This organization also trains [people] for unconventional warfare, namely sabotage, raids, ambush, destruction, assassination and terror. It is an organization that trains terrorists,” Kılıçdaroğlu said to the members of the press.
“If anything happens to disrupt the security of the election, SADAT and the palace [Erdoğan] will be responsible,” the CHP leader said.
“The Republican People’s Party will make every effort to hold democratic elections in this country. Organizations like SADAT, whoever they are, [will be held] responsible for anything that overshadows the election or violates the security of the election,” he said.
In June 2021 Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), rejected a parliamentary motion to investigate SADAT’s controversial activities after Turkish mob boss Sedat Peker claimed SADAT had sent weapons to the al-Nusra Front in Syria in 2015.
Peker also alleged that SADAT could possibly carry out assassinations of dissidents living in Turkey and abroad in the near future.
Peker’s revelations came in the aftermath of concerns recently voiced by senior opposition figures that political assassinations may take place in Turkey as the 2023 elections draw closer since Erdoğan wants to hold the elections in an environment of tension.
The opposition blames Erdoğan’s one-man rule for Turkey’s woes, including an economic downturn and an erosion of rights and freedoms.
The leaders of the main opposition CHP, the Felicity Party (SP), the İYİ (Good) Party, the Future Party (GP), the Democrat Party (DP) and the Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) had signed a declaration confirming their resolve to introduce a “strengthened parliamentary system” if they manage to unseat Erdoğan.
According to a recent survey, nearly six out of every 10 voters in Turkey have stated that they don’t think Erdoğan can fix the economic woes facing citizens in the country, with the figure including 8.8 percent of supporters of his ruling AKP.