German lawmakers call for ban on Turkish nationalist group - report

German lawmakers have called for the Turkish nationalist group known as the Grey Wolves to be banned following similar moves in France, Deutsche Welle said on Thursday.

The activities of Turkish nationalist groups in other European countries have come under growing scrutiny in recent weeks after a memorial to the victims of the Armenian genocide was defaced in France with the phrase “Grey Wolf” and “RTE”, the initials of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The Grey Wolves have also been linked to the recent mobilisation of Turkish nationalists in France, where they clashed with protestors expressing support for Armenia in its conflict with Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Turkey is a long-standing ally of Azerbaijan, which Turkish nationalists describe as “one nation, two states”.

On Wednesday, France took steps to prohibit the group’s activities with the threat of fines and imprisonment. Members of the German parliament have now demanded similar action, DW said.

The Grey Wolves is a name sometimes used by the Idealist Hearths, a far-right organisation closely associated with Turkey’s Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and was involved in the political violence that swept Turkey in the 1970s, targeting leftist activists and ethnic minorities. The MHP is currently the junior party in Turkey’s coalition government alongside Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Calls to ban the group in Germany had been led by leftist opposition party Die Linke, despite a recent statement by the Turkish Foreign Ministry that the Grey Wolves did not exist, DW said.

Instead, the group operates in Germany under the name of the Federation of Associations of Turkish Democratic Idealists (ADÜTDF) and has more than 7,000 members, Die Linke MP Sevim Dağdelen said, according to DW.

“Islamist and fascist organisations should be given zero tolerance,” she said.

Dağdelen’s comments were echoed by other parties across Germany’s political spectrum.

The Grey Wolves “spread hate, threaten people and participate in acts of violence”, DW quoted the Green Party as saying in a statement.

Alexander Gauland, parliamentary group leader of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, said the Grey Wolves is made up of “Erdoğan’s extremist soldiers”.