Islamic defense consulting firm attacks the West


ISTANBUL: This photograph published by SADAT International shows Melih Tanriverdi, CEO of SADAT International Defense Consultancy, posing in Istanbul. SADAT boss Melih Tanriverdi is seething that his private defense consultancy has become Turkey’s secret weapon in the wars in North Africa and the Middle East. – AFP

ISTANBUL: Turkish businessman Melih Tanriverdi is seething that his private defense consultancy has become Ankara’s secret weapon in the wars in North Africa and the Middle East. SADAT International Defense Consultancy is increasingly under scrutiny by US claims that it trains Syrians who are then sent to support pro-Turkish forces in war zones like Libya. The company’s manifesto states that SADAT “aims to help the Islamic world play the role among the world superpowers as a self-sufficient world power.”

But Tanriverdi told AFP the accusations were part of a Western disinformation campaign aimed at tarnishing the image of Turkey and President Recept Tayyip Erdogan. “Our business has nothing to do with being a mercenary organization,” he said in a written interview. “SADAT’s entry into the field of action as an unexpected actor against world powers … explains the reason for this disinformation,” he said in English.

The company was established in 2012 by Tanriverdi’s father Adnan, a brigadier general whose service ended during a purge of Islamic influence from the traditionally secular military in 1996. His stealthy role in promoting Turkey’s interests in the Muslim world has received renewed attention as Erdogan seeks a foothold in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of US troops. Turkey has offered to hire private contractors to protect Kabul airport so that it can fully reopen to international flights – a role theoretically tailored to SADAT.

‘Conspiracy theory’
Tanriverdi only says that SADAT “can provide advisory and training services to security and military units that will ensure airport security.” Its proposed scope of operations is colored green on a company logo showing a world map stretching from North Africa to the Middle East and parts of Central and Southeast Asia. In 2020, the US Department of Defense said SADAT sent teams to Libya to train Syrian fighters on behalf of the Turkey-backed forces of the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli.

SADAT “maintains the supervision and payment of some 5,000 pro-GNA Syrian fighters in Libya,” according to a Pentagon report at the time. Tanriverdi has dismissed this and claims that SADAT routed fighters to Azerbaijan during last year’s war with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh disputed as a “conspiracy theory”. “SADAT has never been in Syria, Libya or Azerbaijan,” he said. “Do you really think that we are professional enough to deceive the world powers? Some analysts think so.

‘Facilitator’
“There are credible sources that suggest that SADAT plays a key role in training and mobilizing proxies in Syria and using them as mercenaries,” Suat Cubukcu, an American University and Terrorism expert, told AFP. from the Orion Policy Institute. The elder Tanriverdi first became Erdogan’s senior security adviser after the Turkish leader survived a coup attempt in 2016. Some believe SADAT is offering the Turkish government plausible denial as to it. to its role abroad.

A report by United States Staff Officer Matt Powers called SADAT “a facilitator between Ankara and the Syrian proxy fighters” which Turkey then sends to other war zones. “There is a lot of speculation that the Turkish secret service is using denominations to pay for proxies, giving a veneer of legitimacy to the use of Syrians in operations abroad,” Aaron Stein told AFP. director of the Middle East program at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. “However, we have no idea how it actually works.” Tanriverdi declined to name clients. “We operate on all continents, including Africa,” he said.

Ideological training
Cubukcu said that SADAT’s overtly political view of the world and the lack of its own armed units set it apart from Wagner – a Russian company closely associated with the Kremlin that is also attacking resource-rich Africa – or its American counterparts. “SADAT has ideological and much more closely linked relations with its original government,” Cubukcu said.

But Tanriverdi has dismissed speculations that his company has become an informal part of the Turkish state. He said SADAT needed state approval to “export defense industry services or products,” but did not take instructions from government ministries or the agency. Turkish intelligence MIT. Although the elder Tanriverdi is no longer Erdogan’s security adviser, the company’s anger against the West continues. “Countries that come from thousands of kilometers away (…) are spreading false news to accuse our president and his former chief adviser, Adnan Tanriverdi,” said the young Tanriverdi. – AFP

About Jun Quentin

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