Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, who has been nominated by the ruling party as a candidate for a parliamentary seat from his hometown of Kayseri, supported slogans calling for violence shouted by the audience at a party meeting on Sunday and replied, “Wait, the time will come [to kill].”
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan decided to nominate all his cabinet ministers as MPs in order to have more seats in parliament. Akar, who was previously chief of general staff, was appointed to the cabinet by Erdogan following the 2018 elections.
While Akar was talking about the fight against terrorism and his ministry’s work at the party gathering, young people in attendance began to shout nationalist slogans that included the once-popular themes of killing opponents, especially leftist ones, and dying for the cause. Hearing the slogans, Akar responded with a smile and raised his fists, saying, “The time will come.”
After the opposition claimed that this behavior during an election period was an invitation to violence against the opposition, the newly turned politician Akar backtracked and claimed his words had been distorted.
“As we talk about the fight against terrorism, as we enter the dens of these terrorists, dissonant voices come from within the country,” Akar said, referring to the opposition, and added, “We follow them with surprise and sadness. It’s ill-intentioned to derive other meanings from my words. It’s a distortion.”
However, he failed to explain what he was referring to with the words, “The time will come ” If he meant killing terrorists as he claims, he already said the army had been extremely successful in that endeavor, so there was no point in talking about a time that will come.
Political observers suspect that even if the opposition presidential candidate, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, wins the election with more than 50 percent of the vote on May 14, Erdogan will not leave office and will take the election to a second round with the illegal help of the Supreme Election Board (YSK), which is under his control. Then at the end of the second round, the YSK will declare that Erdogan won the election despite the fact that in reality he lost. It is claimed that at that moment the position of the army will be decisive and the army can support Erdogan by remaining silent when the opposition, which will allege fraud, is violently suppressed by the police and paramilitary groups.
Akar is a close friend of Adnan Tanriverdi, with whom Erdogan is allied for transforming the army into an institution that will not cause him any trouble. Tanrıverdi, a retired general and former chief military advisor to President Erdogan, runs the private military contractor SADAT, a paramilitary unit loyal to Erdogan. He had to leave his position following a Nordic Monitor report that he had been working to pave the way for the long-awaited Mahdi (prophesied redeemer of Islam), for whom the entire Muslim world is waiting
Tanriverdi provided profiling lists that included opponents of Erdogan in the military. SADAT also took part in the training and management of jihadist fighters under Turkish control in Syria. It was also revealed that SADAT transported jihadists from Syria to Libya in cooperation with Turkish Intelligence. Last year the Defense Ministry reluctantly confirmed that retired military officers who belong to SADAT sat on military examination boards and participated in recruitment interviews.
Akar, no doubt, is the person who brought the military to the current subservient position Erdogan desires. After a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, Akar played a leading role in the purge of thousands of pro-NATO and pro-West officers from the army. Generals who opposed a military operation in Syria were either imprisoned or forced to retire.
In the years following the coup attempt, Akar also managed to dismiss pro-secular officers who collaborated with Erdogan between 2014 and 2016 in ousting officers alleged to have ties to the Gülen movement, a fierce critic of Erdogan.
According to updated figures, 24,706 of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) have been dismissed since 2016. The official account states that 8,651 military members took part in the coup, corresponding to only 1.5 percent of the TSK. Of those 1,761 were conscripts and 1,214 were military school cadets. Given the fact that some 150 generals and thousands of lower-ranking officers were sentenced on coup charges, military experts find it odd that such an insignificant number of troops took part in the coup attempt.
Nordic Monitor previously published court documents stating that Akar, the then-chief of general staff, approved the torture and ill-treatment of detainees unlawfully held at a shooting range located at General Staff headquarters after the coup attempt.