German legislators propose ban on pan-Turkic ultranationalist “Grey Wolves” organization

BERLIN — On Wednesday, the German Bundestag approved a draft law submitted by deputies from five parties that would ban the pan-Turkic ultranationalist “Grey Wolves” organization.

The Grey Wolves organization was formed in the late 1960s by Colonel Alparslan Türkeş to act as the grassroots paramilitary wing of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), currently in a ruling coalition with Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Deputies from five German parties had submitted a bill to the Bundestag that would ban the organization from holding activities and would criminalize membership. Similar legislation was proposed in 2018 but was not adopted.

In early November, the French government imposed a ban on the Grey Wolves and announced the dissolution of the organization after the National Armenian Memorial Centre was defaced with graffiti with giant letters “RTE”, in reference to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the words “Grey Wolves”.

The salute of Grey Wolves, a hand gesture in the shape of a wolf, was banned in Austria in February 2019.

On Tuesday, a motion in the Dutch Tweede Kamer, the second legislative chamber in the Netherlands, voted near unanimously to ask the government to investigate the possibility of outlawing the Grey Wolves in the Netherlands. The only party to vote against the motion was Denk, a Turkish-Dutch political party whose founders are suspected of having close ties to Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP).