İYİ Party leader Akşener testifies for prosecutor over ‘weapons training camps’ claims
Umut Erdem - ANKARA
İYİ (Good) Party leader Meral Akşener has testified for a prosecutor after she claimed early January that civilians in two Turkish cities were receiving weapons training in militia camps.
“Somebody, whose name I cannot reveal, has shown me photographs in which civilians are seen in the Black Sea province of Tokat receiving arms training,” Akşener reportedly told the prosecutor on Jan. 18.
On Jan. 2, Akşener claimed that civilians in Tokat and the Central Anatolian province of Konya were receiving weapons and training in camps.
“We have heard about training camps in Tokat and Konya. They should be investigated and the results should be shared with us,” Akşener had said in an interview with daily Sözcü.
Although stressing that they were still speculations, Akşener said some people who have been seen “moving around with long-range guns lately” are told to be linked to these training camps.
“One of them [armed groups] is a structure called ‘SADAT,’” Akşener said.
In mid-2016, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Fikri Sağlar claimed that the SADAT International Defense Consultancy was established in the early 2000s by soldiers dismissed from the military due to “reactionary activities.”
Sağlar said it is a company close to the ruling Justice and Development Party (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, denied the opposition’s allegations that the company was giving weapons training to civilians.
Following the allegations, the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s office initiated an investigation.
Akşener told the prosecutor that her allegations were based on a photograph she obtained from a person who “had worked in the public sector.”
“The individual said the photographs were showing camps giving weapons training to civilians in rural areas in Tokat,” she said.
“I do not have concrete information about to whom, by whom and where those arms trainings were given in Tokat and Konya. The person who showed me the photographs had told me that they were taken in Tokat and Konya” she said.