How does Turkey transfer mercenaries to Azerbaijan?

Al-Arabiya news agency publishes information confirming the transfer of Turkish mercenaries to the Caucasian conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh
mercenario turco en Azerbaiyán

PHOTO/AP  -   A Nagorno-Karabakh militia sniper near Hadrut

Just a few days before the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh broke out, images of a Turkish militia squadron on a plane were posted on Twitter. This group of people was allegedly travelling from northern Libya to Baku to support the Azeris in the clash that broke out on 26 September. Later on, the transfer of Syrian mercenaries to Azerbaijan by Turkey has also become known, which has left the international community very confused.

Despite repeated denials by the administration of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, this information has also been confirmed by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SCHR) and by the Russian government itself. Vladimir Putin's administration did not wish to make a direct statement on this presence and invited Turkey to support the ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

On the other hand, Al-Arabiya claims that the statements of the Turkish Defence Minister, Hulusi Akar, and the lack of answer of the government to the parliamentary questions of a deputy of the People's Democratic Party (HDP), "confirm the participation of Turkey by sending mercenaries in the Caucasian conflict". 

In an interview conducted by the same magazine, Muhammad Ubaidullah, a deputy of the HDP, stated that the Turkish Defence Minister Akar had issued warnings to Armenia to withdraw its forces.

The Turkish government described Nagorno-Karabakh as "a territory that Armenia occupies within Azerbaijan" while confirming its maximum support from Ankara to the Azeri country. Just after the fighting started, Akar travelled to Baku. There, he reiterated on several occasions that "Azerbaijan is not alone and we will continue with our support". This, according to Al-Arabiya, indicates clear signs of Turkish intervention on the territory both politically and militarily.

Transfer of 4000 mercenaries

The international community has not dared to speak out and the Turkish Parliament also has doubts. That is why the HDP, on behalf of Sarbel Kemalbay, has submitted a request for information to the Chancellor of the Parliament, Mevlut Jawish. This request questions the validity of the accusations and requires the Government to reveal whether the transfer of 4,000 Syrian mercenaries to Azerbaijan is true. 

They were allegedly transferred from the city of Afrin to Baku on a three-month contract for a salary of $1,800 a month. This information has also been confirmed by other international media that have approached the mercenary troops to learn about and report on their routine activities.

MP Kemalbay based the request for the parliamentary proposal on international reports indicating that Azerbaijan had bought drones from the Bayraktar Company and used them to attack Armenian army missiles and tanks. It also based its request on the statements of SSDH that Turkey had transferred 300 mercenaries from Syria to Baku. 

The Turkish parliament also asked the foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, to answer the questions on the use of Turkish F-16s to shoot down planes and bomb Armenian targets. According to the Al-Arabiya agency, neither the request nor the questions that are included in it have been answered yet. 

Through the company Sadat

The HDP parliamentary group suspects Turkey of transferring mercenaries through various subsidiary companies of the Sadat company. This organisation, led by retired brigadier general Adnan Tanriverdi, consists of 23 retired officers from various units of the Turkish Armed Forces. Tanriverdi is the security advisor to the Turkish President and began his work with Sadat in February 2012.

Likewise, Ubaidullah, in the interview granted to Al-Arabiya, explained that this company provides logistic and military services, transfers weapons and trains mercenaries to take them to conflict zones using forged passports. "Sadat was also behind the transfer of mercenaries to Libya through Syria, as is now the case with Azerbaijan through Gaziantep," the opponent explained.

This dizzying movement on the Caucasus war comes at a time when international calls continue to adhere to the ceasefire that was never respected. It is hoped that next Sunday both countries involved in the conflict will reach an agreement to put a stop to the hostilities. Indeed, next Friday both defence ministers will meet the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, to negotiate this ceasefire.