Levent Kenez / Stockholm
Turkey’s Defense Ministry in a press release on Monday admitted the veracity of media claims that retired military officers from a notorious paramilitary organization participated in military review boards and recruitment interviews . The ministry also said retirees only sat on boards between 2018 and 2020 and the practice was abolished this year, adding that those people were invited to sit after receiving security clearances. However, a study by Nordic Monitor shows that one of those former officers and member of a paramilitary group who sat on the boards has extreme views that are so radical that he should not have passed an investigation. security clearance in a NATO member army.
Gürcan Onat, a 62-year-old aviation officer, who retired from the military in 1999 with the rank of major, is one of four retired officers from the private military company SADAT, a supported paramilitary group by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who have been invited to sit on examination boards. Onat, a shareholder of SADAT, is also one of the founders of the Center for Strategic Studies of the Association of Defenders of Justice (ASSAM) and of the Association of Defenders of Justice (Asder), affiliated organizations at SADAT.
SADAT is headed by Adnan Tanrıverdi, a retired officer and former chief military adviser to President Erdoğan. He had to leave his post following a Nordic Monitor report that he had worked to pave the way for the long-awaited Mahdi (prophesied redeemer of Islam), whom the entire Muslim world awaits. Tanrıverdi has said he is stepping down to avoid putting the president in an awkward position after his remarks on the Mahdi sparked a huge backlash in Turkey. However, it is no secret that Tanrıverdi still wields significant influence in Erdoğan’s government and helps shape policies on military and security matters.
Tanrıveri’s son and SADAT CEO Melih Tanrıverdi recently admitted that SADAT works with Turkish intelligence agency MİT and coordinates actions with Turkish diplomats and defense officials, in a radio interview in March 2021.
ASSAM is hosting the Congress of the Islamic Union, a series of gatherings that began in 2017 and will run until 2023. The fifth congress will be held in Istanbul in December 2021 and will focus on common foreign policy for the countries Muslims. The congress previously discussed issues such as establishing a confederation of Islamic countries as well as a common army and constitution. According to the proposed constitution, the main objective of the confederation, which comprises 61 countries, is “to ensure that the Islamic world is once again regarded in history as a supreme power with Istanbul as its capital”.
Onat made a statement on his social media account regarding the allegations against him and SADAT. As a retired officer, Onat said he was open to any task the state gave him and compared his critics to the “Sabatayists of Thessaloniki,” an insulting term widely used by Islamists in Turkey to refer to a Jew who pretends to be a Muslim to deceive people. .
Onat does not hide his hatred of the United States and frequently posts anti-Semitic comments on social media. For example, he openly said he wanted more unrest in the United States when a host of supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the United States Capitol on January 6.. Onat also claimed that America and its offspring Israel are terrorist states when responding to an article about civilians killed by the United States in Afghanistan.
The retired officer, who frequently appears as a commentator on pro-government television channels, supported Turkey’s unilateral military interventions in Syria. SADAT is accused of recruiting and training pro-Turkish jihadists in Syria and transferring them to Libya via Turkey.
Onat, in a tweet on May 15, implied that Israel understands only force and called on President Erdoğan to declare war on Israel, adding that he and his friends were ready.