The CEO of Turkish private military contractor Sadat, a paramilitary unit loyal to the Islamist president of Turkey, admitted publicly that the firm works with Turkish intelligence agency MIT and coordinates actions with Turkish diplomats and defense officials.
In a video obtained by Nordic Monitor from a radio interview, Ali Kamil Melih Tanrıverdi was recorded as saying that the firm communicates with the spy agency when it considers requests from a foreign entity to provide military, defense and technical assistance.
“We do the following when we receive an offer that meets our own service provision criteria. We communicate the offer from a country to the Turkish Foreign Ministry. We also provide information to the National Intelligence Organization [MIT] and the Ministry of Defense about the request and ask for their views. This is the way we work,” said Tanrıverdi in an interview with a local radio station on January 22. 2021.
Tanrıverdi is chairman of the board of Sadat Uluslararası Savunma Danışmanlık İnşaat Sanayi ve Ticaret Anonim Şirketi, a for-profit company that was set up by his father Adnan Tanrıverdi and his associates on February 22, 2012. His father is a former military officer who served as a chief advisor to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for years.
The company’s establishment coincided with the start of the Arab revolutions during which Turkey’s Islamist ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) invested in political, diplomatic and financial as well as military capital to prop up political Islamist groups in the Middle East and North Africa. Sadat came in handy in providing defense counseling, tactical advice and military procurement in parallel with Erdoğan’s ambition to bring Islamists to power in the MENA region.
Melih Tanrıverdi claimed Sadat was not established to make money, although trade registry data shows it was a commercial firm with capital and shareholders. “The efforts we have expended were for a mission. I mean, the goal is not to make money,” Tanrıverdi said, adding that “Turkey is moving towards becoming a global power.” He praised Erdoğan’s leadership in this mission and described the president as the biggest factor in Turkey’s military engagements on several continents.
Tanrıverdi confirmed allegations raised by the Turkey’s opposition lawmakers who were asking about Sadat’s links to the intelligence agency. The opposition also submitted parliamentary questions to 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. Moreover, Sadat was accused of training jihadists sent by Turkey to fight for the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya.
Sadat’s trade registry filings when it was first established in 2012:Sadat_establishment_papers_2012
His father Adnan Tanrıverdi is an important figure in Erdoğan’s inner circle. Although he left his official position as chief military advisor to Erdogan in January 2020, he still plays a crucial role in the government’s defense and military strategy. He announced during the 2019 Islamic Union Congress that his organization had been working to pave the way for the long-awaited mahdi (prophesied redeemer of Islam), for whom the entire Muslim world is waiting. The implication was that President Erdoğan is the expected leader and mahdi.
Sadat has been involved in a number of Arab and African nations, providing military training and offering counseling in military and defense strategies. It helps promote the Turkish defense industry, which by and large is controlled by Erdoğan’s family and associates. It has played a critical role in the massive purge of pro-Western officers from the Turkish military since 2016 during which 80 percent of all flag officers were dismissed and/or jailed on fabricated charges.
When it was first established in Istanbul in 2012 with 23 shareholders and led by Adnan Tanrıverdi, the scope of its business activities was listed in extensive detail, including the purchase of all kinds of military and defense equipment including planes and ships. The company said it would seek to protect the interests of Turkey when offering technical, military and defense counseling services or purchasing arms and ammunition. It had an initial paid-in capital of 643,000 Turkish lira ($367,000), which appears to be a modest figure for a company involved in the multi-billion dollar military and defense industry market.
Sadat’s shareholders as of 2020:Sadat_shareholders_2020
Two months later, Sadat amended its articles of incorporation to have a free hand in its activities. On June 28, 2016 Sadat increased its operating capital to 880,000 Turkish lira. The capital was further increased to 1,584,000 Turkish lira in November 2020. The company moved its office to its current location in Istanbul’s Beylikdüzü district in May 2019.
The board of directors comprises Adnan Tanrıverdi, his son Ali Kamil Melih, Mehmet Zelka, Mehmet Naci Efe and Haluk Yıldırım. Tanrıverdi and his son hold the majority stake in the company.
Forty-seven other shareholders were listed as follows as of November 2020:
Ali Özden, Mehmet Demirtaş, Mustafa Nejat Güvenç, Mustafa Bozgeyik, Mehmet Emin Koçak, Kemal Şahin, Mehmet Zelka, Reşat Fidan, Mustafa Başaran, Ersan Ergür, Hulusi Gülen, Hayati Atalay, Ali Coşar, Ahmet Cengiz Tangören, Ahmet Taylan, Cengiz Uzun,Yakup Evirgen, Yahya Öztürk, Nurettin Yavuz, Mehmet İlhan, Mustafa Hacımustafaoğulları, Eyyup İsmail Kılınç, Mehmet Abdullah Kaplan, Osman Kaçmaz, Zafer Şahin, Çetin Çanak, Orhan Adiyaman, Mustafa Erol, Sabri Balaman, Coşkun Yüksel, Mehmet Çakiroğlu, Mehmet Yüksel Güneş, Ömer Yenici, Selahattin Arslan, Yavuz Sulumeşe, Ahmet Türkan, Fethi Kıran, Gürcan Onat, İrfan Çalişkan, Mehmet İnkaya, Sadiı Paksoy, Yavuz Zülikaroğlu, Hayrettin Kocaoğlu, Said Ceyhan, Sefa Göze, İsmail Kaplan and Tansel Cavit Kulak.