A Turkish paramilitary group run by a close ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan could be used for plausibly deniable tricks overseas, a research fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies said.
“The SADAT Defence Consultancy, founded in 2012 by former Brig- Gen. Adnan Tanriverdi, is Ankara’s instrument in this area,” Jonathan Spyer said.
“Its activities are testimony both to the changing nature of the Turkish state, and to the process by which power and influence are currently built and held in the Middle East.”
In this, it is similar to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Spyer said.
“The IRGC, unlike the Iranian conventional armed forces, or ‘Artesh’, is commanded by people absolutely loyal not to the state, but to the governing regime and its goals,” he said.
“They permit Tehran to support and engage in paramilitary and terrorist activity globally – attacks on Jewish civilians in Burgas and Buenos Aires, assassination of Kurdish politicians in Vienna and Berlin, etc. – while continuing to take its place in the halls of diplomacy and trade as a supposedly conventional member of the international community.”
SADAT has been training elements of the Free Syrian Army, Spyer said, and there are accusations that it has been also training pro-government militias inside Turkey.
Tanrıverdi had also written an article on the possibility of training a Palestinian army to overthrow Israel, Spyer said.