On Wednesday, Turkey promised to show a strict response to France’s decision to dissolve the Turkish ultra-nationalist Grey Wolves group associated with a top ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In fact, the far-right group is seen as a wing of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) that is allied with the Justice and Development Party (AKP) directed by Erdogan in the Turkish parliament.
Erdogan was in dispute with French President Emmanuel Macron on many geopolitical crises and recently the fight of France against radical Islam. On its part, the Turkish foreign ministry declared that the French government had to protect the freedom of assembly and expression of Turks in France. It also said: We will respond in the firmest way possible to this decision.
After a memorial center to massacres of Armenians during World War I, was ruined at the weekend with drawings, including the Grey Wolves’ name, the French cabinet officially dissolve the local offshoot of the group.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin wrote in a tweet declaring the dissolution of the group: It incites discrimination and hatred and is implicated in violent actions.
In fact, the Grey Wolves was a nickname given to members of a fringe Turkish movement that established in the 1960s and 70s. It have a close ties with the MHP; it encouraged radical ideas and used violence in the 1980s against leftist activists and ethnic minorities.
The Turkish foreign ministry denied in its statement the very existence of the group, and said that France was dealing with an imaginary formation. It also related that wolves were a common symbol used in several countries and had no legal status. However it defended Turks’ freedom of expression in France, and accused the French government of ignoring incitements, threats and attacks against Turks in France.
The ban of Grey Wolves in France came against the severe tension between the Armenian and Turkish communities about the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Turkey has steadily supported its ally Baku in combat about the region that is part of Azerbaijan, but ethnic Armenian separatists have controlled it since a 1990s war killed 30,000.
In confrontations last week between suspected Turkish nationalists and Armenians protesting against Azerbaijan’s military offensive, four people were injured outside Lyon. Armenians have long battled for their ancestors’ massacres in the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to be recognized as genocide.