Main opposition implies Erdoğan-linked military firm preparing to jeopardize election security

Turkey's main opposition CHP leader Kemal Kııçdaroğlu has said that "if anything happens to shake the security” of the upcoming 2023 general elections, the government-linked private military firm SADAT is to blame.

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Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has implied that a private military firm with close ties to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was preparing to jeopardize the security of the upcoming general elections.

Calling the firm SADAT “a paramilitary organization,” Kılıçdaroğlu said: “These people were serving as an adviser to Erdoğan until yesterday. If anything happens to shake the security of the [2023] elections, SADAT and the [Presidential] Palace are the responsible ones.”

Kılıçdaroğlu made the comments as he gathered with his deputies in front of the SADAT building in Istanbul on May 13. Earlier in the day, Kılıçdaroğlu held an extraordinary meeting in the party's Istanbul provincial office to show his support for CHP Istanbul chair Canan Kaftancıoğlu, who had her jail sentence upheld by the Court of Cassation the previous day.

“Here [SADAT] is an organization that trains terrorists. If there are millions of people in Turkey today and if they have come from Syria, it is SADAT that played the greatest role in their coming here. I would like to ask Erdoğan: On what grounds did you make this organization your adviser and on what grounds did you work [with them]? There is no information yet from Erdoğan with regards to this issue,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

“I would like everyone to know very well that the CHP will show every kind of effort to make sure that the elections are held through democratic ways in this country.”

SADAT was founded in 2012 by former Turkish brigadier general Adnan Tanrıverdi, who was expelled from the military in 1996 because of his suspicions about Islamist activities.

Tanrıverdi served as an adviser to Erdoğan before being forced to resign from his post in January 2020 after telling a religious conference that SADAT was paving the way for the coming of the Mahdi, a messianic figure some Muslims believe will redeem mankind before the world ends.