The US House of Representatives last week backed an amendment that requires the Secretary of State to prepare an assessment to determine whether Turkey’s gray wolves should be classified as terrorist organizations.
In his analysis on the issue, former Turkish parliament member and senior director of the Turkey program at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) Aykan Erdemir compiles various attempts to ban or penalize the Turkish ultranationalist group through the Europe.
Will Washington join its European allies in their retreat against the far-right partners of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?
A version of the text follows below, originally published by FDD:
The United States House of RepresentativespassainvoiceSeptember 23 which includes aamendmentdemand that the Secretary of State submit a report assessing whether Turkeys Gray Wolves, a far-right militant group, qualifies for designation as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO). If the Senate adopts a comparable provision, the United States will join its main European allies in targeting a violent group linked to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, far-right coalition partners.
Representative Dina Titus (D-NV)offersthe Gray Wolves amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2022 in mid-September. If Foggy Bottom determines that Gray Wolves do not meet the criteria for designation as FTO as set out inarticle 219of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the amendment would then require the Secretary of State to provide a rationale as to which criteria have not been met.
The Gray Wolves movement unites a myriad of ultranationalist groups in Turkey and beyond. At the center of the movement isIdealistic homes, apan-turkishand neofascist organization created in 1968 by the late Turkish ultranationalist leaderAlparslan Turkes, the founder of the Turkish far-right Nationalist Action Party (MHP). Since 2016, the MHP has served as a keycoalition partnerfor the Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Islamist origin of Erdogans and the Gray Wolvesactivistshave repeatedlyassaultedpolitical figures who oppose the ruling AKP-MHP bloc.
During the 1970s, Gray Wolves activists played amain rolein aassassination campaigntargeting left-wing Turkish politicians. They also carried out pogroms against Turkey’s Alevi religious minority, such as the 1978Massacre of Maras, which left at least 111 people, includingpregnant women and children, dead and dismembered. Mehmet Ali Agca, the alleged assassin whoPullPope John Paul II in 1981, was alsoaffiliatedwith the MHP and Foyers Idéalistes.
Since 2019, various EU member states have taken action against gray wolves. In February 2019, the Austrian Ministry of the Interiorbannedthe flags and symbols of the Gray Wolves alongside those ofHamas and Hezbollah. Turkish Ministry of Foreign AffairssentencedThe Vienna decision is outrageous, warning that the ban deeply offends bilateral relations between Turkey and Austria.
In November 2020, Francebannedthe Gray Wolves, accusing the group of extremely violent threats and actions. The ban came after Gray Wolf activistsattackFrench residents ofArmenian originand spray paintedErdogan’s initialson aArmenian Genocide Memorial, causing acallby the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism to ban the militant group. Turkish Ministry of Foreign AffairscriticalParis, warning that Ankara will react to this decision in the harshest way.
Gray wolves have also gone undermeticulous examinationof the German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, which flagged the militant group as a potential threat to the German constitution. The former co-leader of the German Green Party, Cem Ozdemir, of Turkish origin,declaredits support for the Gray Wolves ban, claiming that its activists threaten members of the Turkish opposition and minorities in Germany. In November 2020, the German parliamentadopteda motionurgethe government to ban affiliate groups, prevent its unrest online, and monitor its activities.
That same month, four Italian members of the European Parliamentcalledon the European Union to add gray wolves to the EU terrorist list. Later this month, members of the Netherlands House of Representativespassa near-unanimous motion calling on the Dutch government to impose a similar ban, accusing the militant group of causing serious tensions within the Dutch community.
Since 2014, journalists havereportedthat the gray wolves fought in Syria andin collusion withJihadist groups designated by the United States. If the Senate agrees to include the measure against the Gray Wolves in its version of the NDAA, Washington will join its European allies in their pushback against Erdogan’s far-right partners, who serve as its activist.long armin the West.
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