Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesperson Mahir Ünal has responded to İYİ (Good) Party leader Meral Akşener’s claims that civilians were receiving weapons trainings in camps, calling Akşener a “warmonger.”
“This language used is irresponsible, it’s nonsense. It is inciting civil war,” Ünal said in an interview with private broadcaster CNN Türk late on Jan. 2.
His comments came after the İYİ Party leader said they received information that civilians in the Black Sea province of Tokat and the Central Anatolian province of Konya were receiving arms training in camps.
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 said the SADAT International Defense Consultancy was established in the early 2000s by soldiers dismissed from the military due to “reactionary activities.”
Sağlar said that it 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, denied the opposition’s allegations that the company gives weapons training to civilians.
According to Akşener, these groups are being prepared for the election season and would be used to stir chaos if the results disappoint the AKP.
“They are trying to scare voters by saying SADAT members or some other armed group will be on duty during the elections,” Akşener added, calling on AKP officials to investigate the claims.
Denying Akşener’s comments, Ünal said “relevant authorities will announce that this is impossible.”
He stated that Akşener’s claims aim to provoke further polarization in an already divided society, calling her behavior “irresponsible.”
“What they are claiming is that we [AKP] would let some people act in a way that would pose a security risk. We will never condone this. We will never let anyone harm the constitution, the current order, stability, trust and security in this country,” he added.
“Some people are conducting a dark propaganda against Turkey. A part of this propaganda encourages for a civil war. Nobody can ignite a civil war in this country. The AKP would never let that happen,” he said.
He also denied rumors that during the night of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt some civilians had seized weapons from putschist soldiers.
“That night when the nation seized the weapons from the soldiers who pointed those guns at them, they did not use those same guns toward those soldiers. They later handed the weapons over to the state. There was no plundering. Neither tanks, weapons or military equipment were taken,” he said.
“The military inventory is not missing anything. On the contrary, everything has been taken back by the police and the military,” he added.
İYİ Party officials support claims
Speaking to private broadcaster Kanal D in an interview, İYİ Party deputy leader Ümit Özdağ backed Akşener’s claims.
“We don’t know more than what we have shared with the public. But what we know is that these are very worrisome,” Özdağ said on Jan. 3.
İYİ Party spokesperson Aytun Çıray said the information they received indicated “there are such trainings happening; militia trainings in seven different cities in Turkey.”
“We have received information that some mayors are also supporting these trainings,” Çıray added.