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Main opposition files complaint against defense firm SADAT for illegal arms trade

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A group of politicians from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), led by the party’s deputy chairman Bülent Tezcan, has filed a complaint against the SADAT International Defense Consultancy – a company with alleged links to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan – accusing them of involvement in the illegal arms trade, local media reported on Tuesday.

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 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.

After the CHP politicians filed the complaint against SADAT with the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday, Tezcan made a statement to the press, describing SADAT as a “criminal organization that operates with the support of the [presidential] palace,” with reference to Erdoğan.

“… SADAT is engaged in the arms trade. It acts as an intermediary in the arms trade. This is clearly a crime. … SADAT also clearly states that it aims to change the constitutional order by establishing a state under the name of Asrika with the help of an organization called ASSAM, its subsidiary,” Tezcan said.

The company became the focus of a heated debate in Turkey last month after CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said it would be the culprit if an incident threatened election security in the 2023 polls.

“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.”

Following Kılıçdaroğlu’s statements, SADAT announced that it had filed a lawsuit against the CHP leader, seeking TL 1 million ($57,930) in damages for his remarks.

On May 18 Erdoğan denied having ties to SADAT, saying he had “nothing to do” with the executives of the company, despite appointing SADAT-founder Tanrıverdi as his advisor following a coup attempt in 2016.

In June 2021 the 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.

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