Turkey’s defense minister has said his ministry has no knowledge of SADAT, a paramilitary group linked to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in response to a parliamentary question submitted by an opposition lawmaker, the Birgün daily reported on Wednesday.
In his parliamentary question, Gökan Zeybek, a deputy from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), asked which institutions received consultancy, training and supply services from SADAT.
“Has the Turkish Armed Forces [TSK] received any military consultancy services from SADAT regarding domestic or external security?” Zeybek asked, noting that SADAT describes its area of activity as “giving consultancy and training services in military and domestic security and counterterrorism.”
Zeybek indicated that the company provides training on “ground offensive, sharpshooting, protection, destruction” as well as “irregular warfare” and “tank/armored vehicle hunting,” but that its activities lacked “transparency.”
Zeybek requested that the questions be answered by Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, who opted for a single sentence answer to Zeybek’s questions.
“Our ministry has no information about the matters raised in the parliamentary question,” Akar said, although SADAT refers to itself as the “first and only company providing military training in the field of international defense in Turkey” and chooses to work with former TSK members.
The SADAT International Defense Consultancy, Turkey’s largest security contractor and a paramilitary organization, was established by Erdoğan’s former aide Adnan Tanrıverdi and 23 retired military officers and noncommissioned officers on February 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’s controversial activities have previously been brought to the agenda in a number of parliamentary questions submitted by opposition lawyers.
Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker Hüda Kaya earlier this month submitted a parliamentary question about SADAT, asking if “any investigation been launched into allegations that SADAT sent weapons to the Sultan Murad Brigade and the al-Nusra terrorist organization and trained their militants.”
In June 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 high tension.