France to ban Turkish ultra-nationalist group over defacement of Armenian memorial
(Releads with French plan to ban Grey Wolves)
France is set to ban a leading Turkish ultra-nationalist movement, known as the Grey Wolves, the country’s Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on Monday, Agence France-Pressereported.
The move arrives following the defacement of a memorial to the 1915 mass killings of Armenians on Sunday by members of the group.
The National Armenian Memorial Centre in the town of Decines-Charpieu outside Lyon was painted with the letters "RTE", the initials of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in yellow paint and the words "Grey Wolves.’’
The dissolution of the Grey Wolves will be put to the French cabinet on Wednesday, AFP cited Darmanin as telling a French parliamentary committee.
The attack on Sunday arrives amid heightened diplomatic tensions between Turkey and Armenia over Ankara's firm support for Azerbaijan in the conflict over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a landlocked region in the South Caucasus.
The memorial centre seeks to remind visitors of the mass killing of about 1.5 million Armenians on Turkish territory from 1915, an incident that governing bodies of 32 countries, including the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Brazil, recognise as genocide.
“This intolerable desecration... is one of a series of events aimed at terrorising and intimidating French citizens of Armenian origin,” the Committee for the Defence of the Armenian Cause (CDCA) said in a statement.
On Oct. 30, a group of about 250 people held a march, chanting threats against Armenians, in Vienne and Décines-Charpieu, both near Lyon. The group displayed the wolf hand signal used by the Grey Wolves, and yelled threats like “we are going to kill the Armenians”.
Also on Oct. 30, fighting with knives and hammers between pro-Armenian demonstrators blocking a motorway near Vienne and members of the Turkish community erupted. Four people were injured.