İYİ Party leader Akşener claims civilians receiving weapons training in camps in Turkey
İYİ (Good) Party leader Meral Akşener has claimed civilians are receiving weapons training in camps in the Black Sea province of Tokat and the Central Anatolian province of Konya, daily Sözcü reported on Jan. 2.
“We have heard about these training camps in Tokat and Konya. They should be investigated and the results should be shared with us,” Akşener said in an interview.
Akşener said some people who have been seen “moving around with long-range guns lately” are told to be linked to these training camps.
According to Akşener, they are being prepared for the election season and would be used to stir chaos if the results disappoint the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Although she said these were still speculations, Akşener warned citizens and asked for precautions to be taken starting now, before the election season begins.
Akşener mentioned a single group’s name in the interview when talking about the training camps.
“One of them is a structure called ‘SADAT,’” Akşener said.
In mid-2016, a main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker said the SADAT International Defense Consultancy, established in the early 2000s by soldiers dismissed from the military due to “reactionary activities,” is a company close to the AKP and offers “irregular warfare training” in various fields including “intelligence, psychological warfare, sabotage, raiding, ambushing, and assassination.”
The head of SADAT, retired brigadier Adnan Tanrıverdi, denies the opposition’s allegations that the company gives weapons training to civilians.
“What they want to do is to repel voters from the elections,” Akşener said.
“They are trying to scare voters by saying SADAT members or some other armed group will be on duty in the elections,” Akşener added.
“They are worried they won’t be able receive more than 50 percent of the votes in the presidential elections. That’s where the unease is coming from,” Akşener said, referring to the AKP.
But the people should not be discouraged from voting, Akşener warned.
“I tell them not to be scared. We need serenity, and we will establish it,” the İYİ Party leader said.
When asked about the possibility of snap elections, Akşener said President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Erdoğan would not miss the chance.
“The Erdoğan I know will have the presidential elections before the local elections, and he will do it on July 15,” Akşener said.
“Erdoğan would not miss that date for the world,” she added.
“I anticipate the presidential and parliamentary elections will be held on July 15, 2018. It falls on a Sunday, that is the expectation,” Akşener had told journalists on Dec. 28.
Turkey is scheduled to hold three elections in 2019, and the change in the governance system, stipulated by the constitutional amendments approved in the April referendum, will fully be in effect after the presidential elections and parliamentary elections.
“Erdoğan will never hold local elections before the general elections. Because they receive fewer votes in local elections,” Akşener said.
Stressing that the İYİ Party will present its own candidate in the presidential elections, she said she wants to form an alliance with the liberal Democratic Party (DP) and the conservative Felicity Party (SP).
Akşener, who was once a Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy, argues her party covers the center right-wing political scene in Turkey.