On Wednesday, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin made public, via his Twitter account, the decision taken by the Council of Ministers to outlaw ultra-nationalist training in Turkey. "The Grey Wolves movement was dissolved in the Council of Ministers, in accordance with the instructions of the President of the Republic," Darmanin tweeted, saying the group "incites discrimination and hatred and is involved in violent actions.
In France, the Grey Wolves are considered a "de facto group" because they have no official legal existence. This calls into question the government's decision to dissolve the movement. "What purpose," wrote Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Grouping, on her Twitter account. "This dissolution is nothing more than a coup d'état," she said.
Grey Wolves were particularly targeted after incidents that pitted Turkish and Armenian communities against each other in Décines Charpieu, near Lyon (east), last week. They are also suspected of being linked to the murder of three Kurdish activists in Paris in 2013, and are known to be close to the circles of the mafia.
"It is an extreme right-wing Turkish movement of fascist type, based on nationalist and ethnic elements. Islam is important but more in an identity and nationalist vein: we are Turks, therefore Muslims," specifies Jean Marcou , holder of the Mediterranean and Middle East chair at Sciences Po Grenoble, on FranceInfo.
The dissolution of the movement is taking place in a context of strong tensions between Paris and Ankara, due in particular to disagreements over Syria, Libya and the eastern Mediterranean. There is also the call for a boycott of the Turkish president's French products and his attacks on Emmanuel Macron for defending the right to publish the cartoons of Mohammed.
Founded in 1968 by Colonel Alparslan Türkes, 'Grey Wolves' is at the origin of the paramilitary branch of the National Movement Party (MHP), Turkey's ultra-nationalist party, which is allied to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The Grey Wolves were first mentioned in the 1980s, when they carried out violent actions against left-wing activists and minorities. One of their members tried in particular to assassinate Pope John Paul II in 1981.
Today, the Grey Wolves regularly carry out harassment campaigns. They are also suspected of being linked to the murder of three Kurdish activists in Paris in 2013. They are also known to be close to Mafia circles.
The fight against Jihadist terrorism in France and President Macron's defence of the cartoons of Mohammed as a sign of "freedom of expression" did not please Erdogan, who has encouraged his population to carry out an economic boycott of France.
Gerald Darmanin also announced that he would present the dissolution of the Collectif contre l'Islamophobie en France (CCIF) "within a fortnight". This announcement comes after the recent dissolutions of the Muslim NGO BarakaCity and the pro-Palestinian collective Cheikh Yassine, two organisations also in the sights of the French government.
All the "associations that we could call enemies of the Republic" will also see their dissolution presented to the Council of Ministers in the "coming weeks", Darmanin added. These decisions will be taken "after documented work" that has revealed "facts" of "financing terrorism" or "incitement to hatred".
The French president has stated on many occasions his decision not to "renounce publication of the cartoons" of Mohammed and to defend the secularity of the French state against Islamist radicalism.
The violent murder of the French professor reopened the debate in France on "Islamist separatism". "We must attack Islamic separatism. Secularism is at the heart of France," Macron said in a speech on 2 October.
On 29 October last, three people were murdered by an Islamist radical in the church of Notre Dame in the centre of Nice on the French Riviera.
At around 9 a.m., according to the French media, a man with a knife attacked a woman by cutting her throat inside the church and stabbed another victim who, according to the mayor of Nice, was the building's security guard. The third victim was killed in a bar in front of the basilica, where he had taken refuge.
The perpetrator of the attack was shot and wounded and taken to hospital, according to Le Monde.
In recent weeks, the debate surrounding radical Islamism has strained France's relations with Arab countries.
The French president announced the proposal of a law that would prevent the radicalisation of the most vulnerable communities. "Radical Islamism, by creating laws above those that currently exist in the country, is a danger for France because sometimes it translates into a counter-society," Macron said.
The controversial bill, which will be introduced in December, includes among other things: stricter monitoring of sports organisations and other associations so that they do not become a focus for radicalisation; an end to the exchange programme for foreign imams coming to France; control of the methods of financing mosques; and certain restrictions on home education.