Turkey's dictator Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with Turkish paramilitary group

Ankara: The Pakistani Air Force (PAF) has agreed to cooperate with a "notorious" Turkish paramilitary group that has been accused by the United Nations of deploying fighters from Syrian armed groups to take part in military operations in Libya.

The Pakistani Air Force's policy thinks tank, the Centre for Aerospace and Security Studies (CASS), has become a partner of the Islamic Union Congress, organised by the Association of Justice Defenders Strategic Studies Centre (ASSAM), a front organization run by private military contractor SADAT, which many believe is a de facto paramilitary force loyal to the Islamist president of Turkey, reported Nordic Monitor, a news website and tracking site that is run by the Stockholm-based Nordic Research and Monitoring Network.

In 2020, the United Nations (UN) revealed how the Turkish government used its paramilitary contractor SADAT in Libya and requested an explanation from Turkish authorities in a letter signed by a group of senior rapporteurs.

"Turkish authorities allegedly contracted private military and security companies to facilitate the selection as well as the preparation of official and contractual documentation for the fighters, apparently in coordination with the Turkish security services. One of the companies cited in this context was Sadat International Defence Consultancy [SADAT]," the letter said. The rapporteurs also claimed that according to the available information, SADAT contributed to the recruitment of children under 18 years of age to take part in an armed conflict.

The Islamic Union Congress is a series of gatherings that started in 2017 and will continue until 2023. The event is sponsored by municipalities run by the ruling party, government agencies and Turkish Airlines.

The fifth congress, in which CASS is a partner, will be held in Istanbul in December 2021 and will focus on the "Principles and Procedures of Joint Foreign Policy for the Islamic Union (2021).