The course of the history is full of stories of the dictatorial leaders, who spent their lives in order to grip total power and build a lasting reign. The dictators, like Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, seem determined to keep the legacy of their predecessors even in the 21st Century. One of the main characteristics of the dictatorial leaders is that they use all the means available to them to reach their goals, disregarding ethics and legitimacy. Erdoğan stick to the rule! His tools extend from a robust media propaganda machine to multiple paramilitary organizations. His media machine, for example, functions as a fabrication mechanism, which continually attacks the opposition and spreads hatred against them. On the other hand, his paramilitary organizations are geared to confront any kind of domestic or foreign opposition via asymmetrical ways, including terrorism. Among Erdoğan’s multiple paramilitary organizations, SADAT is the most prominent and the powerful one.
SADAT (International Defense Consulting, in Turkish Uluslararası Savunma Danışmanlığı) officially describes itself as a ‘Private Defense and Consultancy Company’. Its self–description and mission statement are blurry and vague:
“SADAT Inc. is the first and the only company in Turkey, that internationally provides consultancy and military training services at the international defense and interior security sector”
“SADAT Inc. aims at establishing the cooperation among the Islamic Countries in the sense of military and defense industries, in order to assist the Islamic World to take the rank it deserves among the Super Global Powers as a self-sufficient military power, by submitting them the services regarding the organization of Armed Forces, defense consultancy, military training, and ordnance”.
Erdoğan administration prefers to keep SADAT out of any legal or administrative inquiry. This deliberately unframed mission statement allows SADAT to freely pursue Erdoğan’s ambitions. Thus, SADAT is an unsupervised, uncontrolled, unaudited paramilitary company, operating under no regulation. Erdoğan employs SADAT, alongside with other paramilitary organizations, to serve his covert agenda in and out of the country. Substantial indications show that SADAT adopts a Salafist–Jihadist ideology. There are serious claims about SADAT, which range from providing weapons and guerilla training to Salafist–Jihadist Al Nusra, Al–Qaeda and ISIL militants to establishing a pro–Erdoğan Salafist–Jihadist militia in Turkey and abroad.
One major act of SADAT was its role in Erdoğan’s self–coup on 15 July 2016. Substantial evidence indicates that SADAT and other pro–AKP (Justice and Development Party, in Turkish Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi) paramilitary organizations, including mafia gangs, were responsible for some of the civilian killings. While calling the events of 15 July “a gift from God”, Erdoğan used these killings as a pretext to carry out his historically brutal crackdown. SADAT’s employment method on 15 July 2016 was an illustration of Erdoğan’s determination to use this crucial apparatus in the future to shape politics, crush political opponents and even fuel a civil unrest when he sees a necessity to protect his reign. (A substantial study on 15 July 2016 by former Turkish officials is available online.)
Following 15 July 2016 events, Chairman of SADAT Adnan Tanrıverdi was appointed as the Chief Consultant to Erdoğan. This allowed Tanrıverdi to dramatically influence the politics in Turkey. His ideas are practically driving the country while consolidating Erdoğan’s reign and tyranny. Tanrıverdi’s vision for the Military is well reflected in the new recruitment policy and the restructuring of the Turkish Military. The Military gradually drifts toward a Salafist–Jihadist ideology. Tanrıverdi’s prospect for the state structure was realized by a controversial Referendum on 16 April 2017, which was conducted in the midst of vote fraud and breach of election law by Erdoğan and his supporters. As a result of the Referendum, Turkey turned its direction from democracy to tyranny.
Erdoğan is accelerating the country towards a dangerous cliff. The Turkish nation must act immediately and resolutely to stop Erdoğan and revert the country back to rule of law and democracy. The international community should act decisively to stop the Dictator and prevent him further degrading international peace and stability. Appeasing Erdoğan would only encourage this 21st Century dictator to follow the footsteps of his predecessors. It will serve as a favor for an inevitable disaster, which naturally would not be limited to Turkey but the whole region.