The Government of Turkey has ensured that it will react “in the strongest way” to France’s decision to outlaw the ultra-nationalist group ‘Gray Wolves’ due to the involvement of its members in violent protests and acts against the Armenian and Kurdish communities in the European country. .
The Turkish Foreign Ministry has indicated in a statement that “there is no movement called ‘Gray Wolves'” and has added that “attempts to resort to imaginary decisions claiming the existence of this movement or formation based on some people and their actions they reflect the contradictory psychology in which this country lives. “
“It is unacceptable that, in dealing with this imaginary formation, symbols used widely in many countries have been banned and that they do not have illegal aspects,” he said, before adding that “it is unfortunate that those who advocate that freedom of Expression cannot be limited in any way when it comes to them, they limit it when it comes to others. “
“This hypocritical position is the latest example of the double standards that we have become accustomed to seeing. This decision also shows that the French Government is totally captive of Armenian circles,” he denounced, according to the aforementioned statement, published on its website.
In this sense, he has criticized that France “tolerates” the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the nebula of followers of the Islamist cleric Fetulá Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of being behind the 2016 coup attempt, which he rejects.
“The French Government has once shown that it continues to ignore the fanatical incitement of the Armenian diaspora, threats and attacks that have increased in recent months against our citizens and diplomatic legations in the country,” he criticized, while also emphasizing that “This hypocritical attitude and this provocative decision” are “a reminder of France’s negative record in fighting terrorism.”
Finally, he stressed that “the freedom of association, expression and demonstration of the Turkish community in France must be protected, in line with Human Rights and regulations.”
The decree of the French Government contemplates that this “paramilitary movement”, founded in Turkey in 1968 and present in several European countries, groups together “Turkish extreme right-wing sympathizers” and has its own symbols, slogans and flag.
The document reflects that “the ‘Gray Wolves’ group has been involved in many violent actions with the character of armed demonstrations”, including incidents following protests by members of the Armenian community against the fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan around the conflict in Nagorno Karabakh.
During these incidents, which took place on October 28 in Isère, members of the ‘Gray Wolves’ chanted slogans such as “We are going to kill Armenians”, “Here is Turkey”, “We are in your house, band of bastards” and “Armenians, terrorists”.
In the midst of these incidents, a monument was desecrated in Lyon in memory of the victims of the Armenian genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire in 2015. The monument was painted with the name of this ultra-nationalist organization, considered to be linked to the Nationalist Action Party (MHP). ), ally of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
INCREASE IN TENSIONS
Tensions between France and Turkey have increased again in recent weeks, especially after Macron’s statements defending the publication of the Muhammad cartoons by the satirical magazine ‘Charlie Hebdo’.
In response, Erdogan questioned the “mental health” of his French counterpart and called for a boycott of products from the European country. “Hostility to Islam has become political in some European countries, supported at the highest levels,” he criticized.
The murder of Samuel Paty, a professor beheaded after showing the aforementioned cartoons in code, has shocked France, where more than 250 people have been killed in attacks carried out by extremist Islamists in recent years. Among those killed are 12 people who worked at ‘Charlie Hebdo’, who died in an attack perpetrated in January 2015 at the weekly’s offices.