Russian think tank labels Turkish far-right Grey Wolves as ‘extremist’ organisation

A pro-Kremlin Russian think tank has designated Turkey´s Grey Wolves, an ultra-nationalist youth organization known for their violent behavior and promotion of fascism, as an extremist group operating inside Turkey.

Experts with the Russian International Affairs Council, classified Grey Wolves, officially known as Ülkü Ocakları, as an extremist group operation in Turkey, along with the likes of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), an armed group that has been at war for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey for over 30 years.

The Grey Wolves emerged on to the Turkish scene when it engaged in physical conflict with leftists in the 1970s. Today, the group is affiliated to the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the junior coalition partner of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli became the head of Grey Wolves following the death of MHP’s founding leader Alparslan Türkeş, the report said.

The Russian think tank’s report accuses the Grey Wolves of involvement in the 1996 killing of journalist Kutlu Adaly, who criticized Turkey's policy towards Cyprus and more than 1,000 civilians in fight against PKK and other Kurdish armed groups, as well as Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in 2007.

“Now the group continues its activities through individual acts of terror and guerrilla warfare,” the report said.

The group is also active in the Syrian crisis, where it supports the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad in particular, according to the report.

Alparslan Çelik, a member of the Grey Wolves, is responsible for the murder of a Russian pilot by Turkey on the country’s border with Syria in 2015, the report said.

The Grey Wolves’ activities in Turkey are generally directed against ethnic minorities and left-wing politicians and groups. The group is banned in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, although after the collapse of the Soviet Union it was mostly active in Central Asia and the Caucasus.

According to the report, the recruitment of new members takes place among the youth, who are the young unemployed and university students.

“In the branches in Germany, mostly schoolchildren and students belonging to the third generation of Turkish migrants are involved in the group, usually via a parent who is a member of the organization,” it said.

The larges source of income for the Grey Wolves arrives from drug smuggling into Italy, the report said.