SADAT Defense Inc.: Turkey’s PMC


    1.0 Introduction

    Over the last several years, there has been a significant increase in the growth of the private military sector. In the midst of this growth, the Turkish company SADAT Defense Inc. separates itself from more conventional private military companies (PMC). 

    SADAT PMC claims to be the only one of its kind to provide consulting services and military training services internationally (source). Providing various services and focusing on consultation, conventional and unconventional training, ordnance services, and military logistical support. However, in contrast to other PMCs, it does not openly promote having a capacity in direct action or combat. The ideologic agenda of SADAT’s founder and its presence in the company’s agenda also separates SADAT PMC from other companies.

    2.0 History

    Adnan Tanriverdi led the establishment of SADAT PMC, with the backing of 64 retired Turkish officers and 23 funding shareholders. These officers were carefully selected for their “respect towards the religious sensitivities of Islamic countries” (source). After publishing its “articles of incorporation” in the “Turkish Trade Registry Gazette” in February 2012, the company promptly commenced its operations.

    The corporate manifesto of SADAT PMC advertises its services while opposing to foreign hegemony and exposing alleged Muslim persecution. These are reflections of Tanriverdi’s Islamist ideas, which were allegedly the reason he was expelled from the Turkish army (source). The manifesto highlights SADAT’s commitment to individual country interests as well as the collective interests of the Muslim world. This while positioning SADAT PMC as an alternative to “colonist countries of crusade mentality.” (source). The “emergence of the Islamic world as a superpower” and the “promotion of collaboration in the defence and security sectors among Islamic nations” are stated as SADAT’s objectives (source).

    3.0 SADAT Organisation

    3.1 Place within Broader Structures

    Despite several attempts by Tanriverdi to deny SADAT PMC collaboration with the Turkish government (source), his son stated the opposite. Ali Kamil Melih Tanriverdi interview with NordicMonitor in 2021. “We do the following when we receive an offer that meets our service provision criteria. We communicate the offer from a country to the Turkish Foreign Ministry. And we provide information to the National Intelligence Organisation and the Ministry of Defense about the request and ask for their views. This is the way we work” (source).
    These statements indicate that SADAT has a place within governmental structures and that it works in partnership with the Turkish Foreign Ministry, National Intelligence Organisation [MIT], and the Ministry of Defense to conduct its commercial activity and pursue national interests. SADAT’s operations are closely linked with the Turkish government, particularly the ruling AKP. The company benefits from strong government support, access to resources, and alignment with Turkey’s foreign policy agenda. This close relationship facilitates coordination and collaboration between SADAT and state institutions, enhancing its operational capabilities.

    3.2 Financing

    Understanding SADAT Defense Inc.’s financing is critical to understand its operations and sustainability. Most of the company’s funding comes from two sources — (i) Turkish capital; (ii) income from business activity (source).

    SADAT produces revenue through its defence consulting sector. These consist of advising and consulting services, training programs and military/logistical support to a variety of domestic and international clients.

    SADAT reportedly gets government funding due to solid relations with the Turkish government, and certain common goals (source). The public does not have access to the information regarding the specific nature and amount of financial assistance provided by the Turkish government to SADAT. Nevertheless, given the company business nature, it is reasonable to conclude that it receives support through new contracts and/or subsidies.

    3.3 Business Structure

    SADAT has established itself as a key player in the realm of defence and military consultancy. They operate with a varied business scope, offering a broad spectrum of services that extends beyond traditional military affairs. This comprehensive approach allows the company to deliver holistic solutions while strategically aligning with Turkish national interests.

    At its core, SADAT operates as a military and defence consultancy company, providing services to clients in the military sector. Their competence in military strategic planning, operational support, and intelligence analysis enables the company to operate in complex conflict zones.

    However, SADAT’s business structure extends beyond defence consultancy alone. The company has ventured into commercial activities, capitalising on its core competencies to explore opportunities in logistics, transport, and technology. By diversifying its operations, SADAT expands its revenue streams and leverages its expertise to serve a wider range of needs.

    In the logistics domain, SADAT leverages its military experience to offer solutions for the transport of any kind of equipment. Drawing on their understanding of complex operational environments, SADAT offers a logistics management service, optimising resource allocation and minimising risks.

    SADAT’s diversified approach ensures that the company remains versatile, adaptable, and capable of providing comprehensive solutions to its clients. By strategically capitalising on its core competencies, SADAT PMC keeps a significant role in serving Turkish national interests and shaping the reality on the ground.

    3.4 Key Figures

    • Adnan Tanriverdi (Founder)
    • Ali Kamil Melih Tanriverdi (Founder’s Son)
    • Mehmet Zelka
    • Mehmet Naci Efe
    • Haluk Yıldırım
    Adnan Tanrıverdi sitting as Turkish chief military adviser at the table of President Erdoğan's closest political circle.
    Adnan Tanrıverdi – second from the lower right.

    4.0 SADAT Equipment

    4.1 Weapons

    SADAT PMC employs a diverse range of weapons to support its clients’ demands. Depending on the region where it is operating and the client SADAT serves, firearms platforms will differ. While specific details regarding its arsenal are not available to the public, it can be deduced that the company uses standard military equipment commonly employed by the Turkish Armed Forces for its own personnel.

    Assault Rifles:

    • MPT-76MH (7.62mm x 51)
    • MPT-55K (5.56mm x 45)

    Sniper Rifles

    • JMK BORA-12 (7.62mm x 51)
    • MAM-15 (12.7 mm x 99)
    • KNT-76 (7.62 mm x 51)

    Submachine Guns:

    • MOT-919 (9 mm x 19)
    • MP5-A3 (9 mm x 19)
    • MP5-K (9 mm x 19)

    4.2 Vehicles

    Armoured Personnel Carriers: Otokar Cobra, BMC Kirpi.

    Helicopters: T-129 ATAK.

    Interesting Vehicles: SADAT PMC Mobile Armory System Solutions (Designed by SADAT Defense in order for the armoury to reach any desired area quickly by ensuring all transport conditions).

    5.0 SADAT Training Services 

    SADAT provides conventional warfare training and end-user training for military and their trainers and others from individuals through highest units of Land Force, Navy and Air Force.

    5.1 General Training Programs

    • Individual Combat Training and Small Unit Tactics
    • Special Forces Basic Course
    • Special Forces Advanced Course
    • Aviator/Aviation Courses

    5.2 Modular Training Programs

    • Training Modules for Land Forces
      • Land Operations Training Program
      • Sniper/Sharpshooter Training Program
      • Special Task Shooter/Sniper Training Program
      • Protection Training Program
      • Advanced Demolition Training Program
      • Unconventional Warfare Training Program
      • Urban Warfare Operations Training Program
      • Individual Combat Training and Close Quarter Battle Course
      • Artillery, Forward Observer Training Course
      • Armoured Vehicle Destruction and Hunting Training Program
    • Training Modules for Sea Forces:
      • Surface Operations Training Programmes
      • Underwater Operations Training Programmes
      • Frogman Training Programmes
      • Naval Search and Rescue Operations Training Programmes
    • Training Modules for Air Forces
      • Parachute Training Programme
      • Air Operations Training Program
      • Helicopter Pilots Training Program
      • Helicopter Utilization Training Programme
      • Aircraft Pilot Training
      • Aircraft Type Rating Training
      • Fighter Pilot Training
    • Training Modules for Interior Security Forces:
      • Border Security Stations Training
      • Basic Police Special Operation Training Program
      • Urban Warfare Operations Training Program

    6.0 SADAT Tactical-Operational Information

    Sadat contractors with guns. Background with Toyota Hilux equipped with anti-aircraft artillery system.
    SADAT contractors doing the Grey Wolves hand gesture.

    6.1 SADAT Operations


    SADAT has taken an active role in Africa, offering military training and establishing defence agreements with a number of African nations.  

    Several African nations, such as Mali or Libya, have reached cooperation agreements with SADAT to provide their security forces with specific training programs that emphasise both internal and external military security, according to reports (source).

    According to the company website, SADAT began offering military training to Libyan security forces in 2013. Tanrverdi, the creator of SADAT, visited Libya in May 2013 to “determine the needs of the New Libyan Armed Forces and search for possibility for Consultancy, Training, and Ordnance service delivery for Libya” and spoke with Libyan military leaders. SADAT then created a concept for the Libyan military called “Sports Facilities Design for a Military Regiment.” (source).

    SADAT’s activities in Africa have extended beyond training programs. The company has actively engaged in defense cooperation agreements, which encompass provisions for joint training exercises, technical visits, and personnel exchanges between military institutions and private companies (source).

    Turkey’s growing interest in Africa and efforts to strengthen ties with African countries is evident through SADAT’s presence. SADAT contributes to strengthening the security capacities of African nations and developing long-term strategic alliances in the region by offering military training and defence cooperation.

    Given Tanriverdi’s radical Islamist ideas and strong associations with President Erdogan, some claim that the company’s operations may be driven by political and ideological motives. SADAT, however, insists that its only goal is to offer military training and consulting services globally, with a focus on capacity-building and defence cooperation.

    Middle East 

    SADAT has grown a foothold throughout the Middle East in recent years, engaged in a variety of activities that benefit Turkish interests. SADAT, which began operations in the Kurdish province of Dohuk in 2017, is reportedly operating under numerous firm names such as TIKA, HAKSIAD, and ORSAM. Notably, these associated companies are also involved in the recruitment of Turkish secret service members (source).

    SADAT’s training of proxy forces in many war zones is a significant component of its activities. SADAT military experts trained special forces known as Hêza Gulan and Roj-Peshmerga in the Dohuk region in 2018. SADAT provided assistance to these units, which were affiliated with the Kurdish National Council and the Kurdistan Democratic Party led by the Barzani family (source).

    The Hêza Gulan unit integrated the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and operated as the Selahedîn û Farûq-Einheit, fighting the Assad regime in Syria. As has been noted, SADAT’s participation in training proxy troops goes far beyond Kurdistan and Syria, with members preparing to operate in countries such as Yemen or Azerbaijan (source).

    SADAT also participated in the training of paramilitary proxy troops operating under the FSA name in Afrin, Girê Spî, and Serêkaniyê. SADAT trained Roj-Peshmerga units who fought the PKK in the districts of Xakûrkê, Zap, and Garê (source).

    SADAT’s presence and activities in the Middle East demonstrate its significance as a vital actor in numerous conflict zones by training and coordinating proxy groups.


    Recent reports have highlighted SADAT’s rising influence in Asia, specifically its role in proxy warfare and recruitment operations. In 2021, it was reported that SADAT commissioned and organized mercenaries to wage proxy battles in the disputed territory of Kashmir. (source).

    In 2022, there were reports of SADAT recruiting foreign fighters and private military groups to be deployed in both Palestine and Kashmir. Muhammed Abu Amsha, the leader of the Syrian National Army (SNA) militia’s Sulayman Shah Brigades, verified these claims by announcing the relocation of specific SNA forces to the Kashmir region. These forces were thought to have been transferred from Siyê, near Syria’s Afrin region (source).

    Afrin, which is part of the Autonomous Administration of Northern and Eastern Syria, has become a hub for recruitment efforts. Amsha revealed that each recruit will receive a $2,000 compensation. According to numerous sources, the recruiting has expanded to other locations including Azaz, Jarablus, Bab, and Idlib (source).

    SADAT’s expansion into Asia raises questions about the region’s stability and the consequences for current conflicts. While these changes evolve, keeping an eye on SADAT’s activities in Asia becomes increasingly important for understanding the growing dynamics of proxy warfare and its effect for regional security. Private military companies’ engagement in proxy combat adds complexities to already fragile circumstances, potentially fuelling greater instability.

    6.2 Core Purpose

    Within the context of the conflicts in which it operates, the primary mission of SADAT is to strengthen the capacities of the military and security forces of partner states and clients. Correspondingly, their objective is to enhance its clients’ operational preparedness, efficiency, and effectiveness through the provision of consulting and training military and logistical services. Additionally, by influencing and shaping conflicts, they actively align their core purpose with the interests of the Turkish government and pursue the ambition for regional power and control.

    Evidently,SADAT’s recruitment, training and deployment activities in Africa, the Middle East and Asia shows the company’s growing reach and readiness to prepare and operate in multiple combat zones. Nevertheless, it also raises concerns regarding the motives and purposes for such actions, as well as their possible impact on regional dynamics.

    7.0 The Future for SADAT International Defense Consultancy Inc. 

    As can be seen, SADAT has actively gained a notorious presence in conflict zones around the world in recent years, actively engaging in actions that range from training proxy armies to providing military support. Looking ahead, it is likely that SADAT will continue to extend its operations in various regions, shaping the dynamics on the ground.

    (i) Increased Activity: The future of SADAT is likely to see an increase in activity as it strives to expand its reach and influence in numerous conflict-ridden locations. The company’s expertise in coordinating and training armed forces will most likely be in substantial demand, particularly in strategic hotspots.

    (ii) Expanded Training Programs: In the long run, SADAT’s training programs are projected to expand and intensify. The company’s expertise in military training and specialisation will allow it to meet the needs of various nations, proxy armies and armed organisations. 

    (iii) Enhanced Military Support: SADAT’s role as a provider of military support to allied forces is expected to grow.  SADAT’s significant experience in military operations, as well as its close ties with numerous military and governmental entities, position it as a major actor in advancing the interests of its clients.

    (iv) Geopolitical Considerations: SADAT’s future activities will likely continue to be driven by geopolitical considerations. Due to the interests of its home country, Turkey, SADAT PMC may focus on regions where Turkish influence is at stake or where conflicts have direct implications for Turkish national security. This could involve the support of allies, such as rebel groups in Syria, or contributing to efforts aimed at countering perceived threats to Turkish interests.

    8.0 Conclusion 

    At this point, the involvement of SADAT in different regional conflicts has raised questions and concerns regarding its activities and goals. As has been noted, engages in proxy wars, recruits, trains and deploys mercenaries in conflict zones with military and logistical support. The emergence of private military companies such as SADAT exemplifies the dynamic nature of contemporary conflicts and their inherent complexities. Thus, careful regulation is necessary to address the significant ethical, legal, and security concerns actively raised by the use of private actors in military operations.

    Understanding SADAT PMC and comparable private military companies is crucial for policymakers, analysts, and stakeholders to comprehend the dynamics of contemporary conflicts and their potential repercussions while maintaining global stability, upholding international norms, and ensuring the protection of human rights. Therefore, continued research, analysis, and monitoring are required to fully understand the activities, motivations, and consequences of these private military organisations.

    Tomás Fonseca
    Tomás Fonseca
    Tomás is a Portuguese intelligence analyst who is currently undertaking a Master's degree in Intelligence, Security, and Strategic Studies. His expertise lies in the domains of organized crime, terrorism, and migration within the regions of Latin America and Southern European countries.

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