The Association of Justice Defenders Strategic Studies Center (Adaleti Savunanlar Stratejik Araştırmalar Merkezi, ASSAM) will hold its annual Islamic Union Congress December 12-13, 2020 under the theme of “Determination of Principles And Procedures of Common Defense System for the Islamic Union.”
ASSAM is led by retired Gen. Adnan Tanrıverdi, the former chief military aide to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Tanrıverdi, head of the ASSAM steering committee, owns private military contractor SADAT, which many believe is a de facto paramilitary force loyal to the Islamist president of Turkey. He continues to advise the Erdoğan government on military matters, although he left his official position as advisor in January 2020.
The Islamic Union Congress is a series of gatherings that started in 2017 and will continue until 2023. The fourth ASSAM congress will be held in Istanbul and focus on “the principles and procedures of the Common Defense System of the Islamic Union” and “the ideal defense organization model for confederation of ASRICA (Asia-Africa) Islamic Countries.”
According to the congress website, “Islamic countries have fallen into enormous chaos and disorders through the interference of the imperialist Western states,” and the third world war continues as an undeclared war against those countries.
“After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the Muslims who were left without authority, tried to maintain their existence by establishing small states but they lost their unity and togetherness, so they became easy prey for the global powers. The United States, the European Union, France, Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States aim to establish their authority in Islamic countries in order to take over the Islamic geography through carrying out proxy wars (Asymmetrical wars) by terrorist organizations under their control,” ASSAM said.
The Science Committee of the Islamic Union Congress for 2020 is composed of interesting figures including President Erdoğan’s chief aides Mesut Hakkı Caşın and Hakkı İlnur Çevik, Presidential Security and Foreign Policies Council member Çağrı Erhan, retired generals and several Islamist academics.
Caşın threatened Russia with war and fomenting discontent among the Russian Muslim community after an attack by the Syrian army killed Turkish troops in February. “Russia will be dismembered from within. There are 25 million Muslims in Russia. We fought Russia 16 times in the past, and we will do it again. Our vengeance will be quite terrible,” he said.
“Turks conquered Egypt after ruling the Mediterranean. This is a mission of historical/geopolitical importance. The Turkish Air Force will join the Libya campaign if needed,” he also said in an interview last month.
It is no secret that ASSAM is promoting the idea of an Islamic union to be spearheaded by the Turkish president. Undermining the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), under the influence of Saudi Arabia and Egypt, which both have uneasy relations with Turkey due to Ankara’s unprecedented support for Muslim Brotherhood organizations, Erdoğan is engaged in efforts to substitute his own organization to pursue his caliphate-like leadership among the Muslim world.
Last year the ASSAM congress was held in December with the participation of 44 Muslim countries and focused on defense industry cooperation of the “Islamic Union.” Speaking to the Turkish government’s anti-Semitic, anti-Christian mouthpiece, Akit TV, following a session at the event, Tanrıverdi said Islamic countries should produce their own defense materiel and weapons among themselves, claiming one cannot defy others with the weapons of others.
Tanrıverdi announced during the 2019 Islamic Union Congress that his organization, which is fully funded and supported by the Turkish government, had been working to pave the way for the long-awaited mahdi (prophesied redeemer of Islam), for whom the entire Muslim world is waiting.
Turkey’s opposition lawmakers had asked the government about the alleged role of SADAT in training Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Syrian al-Qaeda group Jabhat al-Nusrah (al-Nusra Front) fighters and the alleged close relations between Turkish intelligence agency MİT and SADAT. Moreover, SADAT was accused of training jihadists sent by Turkey to fight for the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya.
Nordic Monitor previously reported that SADAT has been conducting military training programs in Africa since 2013 with the help of bilateral security cooperation deals.