Grey Wolves labelled as terrorist organisation by European Parliament

The far-right organisation has already been banned by France and Germany after being accused of being racist, xenophobic, and anti-democratic
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PHOTO/AFP  -   A supporter of Devlet Bahceli, leader of Turkey's Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), gestures a sign of Turkey's far-right political movement, the Grey Wolves.

The European Parliament has produced a report recommending that the Turkish far-right organisation linked to the National Movement Party (MHP), the Grey Wolves, be included on the EU list of terrorist organisations.

The report was presented by Spanish Socialist European Deputy Nacho Sánchez Amor, who argued that "the Grey Wolves are a Turkish Islamist paramilitary organisation known for their involvement in numerous conflicts" and called on the Council to "include the Grey Wolves on the list of groups involved in terrorist acts and subject to restrictive measures".

In their ideology, the Grey Wolves are characterised by a systematic denial of the Armenian genocide, which is why France decided to ban the extremist organisation in the country in 2020, following several demonstrations threatening the Armenian community.

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AFP/ADEM ALTAN - People gesture the "Grey Wolves" salute and wave flags during an election rally of Turkey's opposition Nationalist Action Party (MHP) on May 24, 2015 in Ankara.

Germany followed France's lead and passed a motion to ban the ultra-nationalist group following a resolution by the ruling coalition Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Social Democratic Party (SPD), as well as the opposition Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the Greens, arguing that the ban is due to the group's racist, xenophobic and anti-democratic ideology, as well as "representing a threat to the security of the country".

The group's name refers to the wolf Asena, a mythological figure who, according to national mythology, represents the mother of all Turks. Their followers, the "bozkurtlar", as they are known in Turkish, make a hand salute as a symbol of their identity, known as "the sign of the wolf".

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AFP/ADEM ALTAN - Turkish opposition Nationalist Action Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli.

Since the organisation's creation, the Grey Wolves have adopted violent and discriminatory actions against Kurds, Armenians, Greeks, Alawis and Christians. Similarly, in their ideological lines, they promote neo-fascist ideas inciting the racial, historical, and moral superiority of Turkish peoples that would extend from Afghanistan and China to the south-eastern Balkans.

Among their latest offensives, the systematic attacks they have carried out on different demonstrations organised by associations for the protection of Kurdish human rights in Austria stand out. These demonstrations denounced the attacks perpetrated by the Turks and the military operations against the Kurds in northern Iraq, the only area of Kurdistan where the Kurds maintain autonomy.

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AFP/AREF TAMMAWI - A Turkish soldier displays the sign of the Grey Wolves (a Turkish ultra-nationalist organisation) as troops patrol in the town of Atareb in the western countryside of Syria's Aleppo province.

The Grey Wolves are accused of having participated in the assassination of members of Turkey's Alevi minority in 1978 and of having committed numerous attacks during the years of the 1970s against leftist groups and ethnic minorities, as well as staging the 1980 coup d'état, an uprising that succeeded in establishing a military regime that lasted until 1983. Among its most notorious offensives, in 1981 one of its members, Ali Agca, attempted to assassinate Pope Juan Pablo II in St. Peter's Square.

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PHOTO/REUTERS -Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

The organisation's ideology combines an ideological intertwining that exalts "the dream" of restoring a Caliphate, which would be under the orders and control of the current president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. This motive led the president to seek a "militia" alliance with this organisation after approving a coalition with the National Movement Party, a far-right political group from which the Grey Wolves emanate and which allows Erdogan to hold on to power.

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REUTERS/WOLGANG RATTAYA - A Turkish woman gesticulates next to Turkish and German flags during a demonstration involving members of the Turkish ultra-nationalist organisation Grey Wolves in Düsseldorf.

The latest reports produced by the European Parliament highlight Turkey's lack of progress on human rights. Since the 1990s, the European Court decided to draw up an annual "progress report" on Turkey and its progress on fundamental rights.

According to European deputy Sánchez Amor, the broad anti-terrorism provisions and the abuse of these measures have become the skeleton of "the state policy of repression of human rights in Turkey in the last two years".

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PHOTO/AFP - A man in a Turkish officer's uniform shows the poster of Grey Wolves (a Turkish ultra-nationalist organisation).

In the report published in 2020, the European Parliament stated that it noted "with concern Turkey's continued and increasing distancing from European norms and values in recent years, despite being a candidate country", and denounced "Turkey's unilateral actions in the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as strong and sometimes provocative statements against the Union and its member states that have led to relations between Turkey and the Union being at one of the worst moments in their history".