France Bans Turkish Ultra-Nationalist ‘Grey Wolves’ Group After Mobs Target Armenians

The French government on Monday announced a ban on the Turkish ultra-nationalist ‘Grey Wolves’ group – the latest in the ongoing tit-for-tat feud between Paris and Ankara which was triggered after last month’s two terrorist attacks involving gruesome beheadings and knife attacks on French citicens.

French Minister of Interior Gérald Darmanin made the official statement banning the ultra-nationalist group, according to the AFP. Darmanin called the group “particularly aggressive” and said the law banning it would be submitted to the French Cabinet on Wednesday.

A prior Grey Wolves rally in Germany.

It comes after days ago the Grey Wolves were reportedly behind marches in two French towns where largely Turkish mobs declared they were “looking for Armenians”. Some media headlines emphasized the Turkish nationalists were “hunting” for Armenians in connection with tensions related to the ongoing war in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Vice News, for example, wrote the following of last week’s events:

A French anti-racism group and an organization representing France’s Armenian community said what they called the “hunt for Armenians” was orchestrated by the Grey Wolves, a militant Turkish ultranationalist group which is active in Western Europe and banned in a number of countries, including Austria. Footage of the marches, which took place on Wednesday night, was circulated on Twitter accounts featuring wolf emojis and references to the Turkish name of the ultranationalist organisation, Bozkurtlar.

Also over the weekend it was revealed that the Armenian Genocide Memorial and the National Armenian Memorial Centre in Décines, France were defaced with yellow spray paint, including pro-Grey Wolves messages. 

A statement last Thursday from the Coordination Council of Armenian Organizations (CCAF) in France urged the French government to outlaw the Grey Wolves, citing the safety of minority ethnicities in France. 

“French people of Armenian origin must be able to live in France in safety, without being targeted by acts of violence and racial hatred,” the CCAF said in a statement.

Turkish media has noted prior occasions where Erdogan was seen giving the hand sign used among the Grey Wolves, via Ahval

The ban will be sure to outrage Ankara given Turkish President Erdogan is seen as sympathetic to the group, which is very active in Turkey. 

Erdogan has in the past surprised onlookers by making the Grey Wolves hand sign at political rallies. Its leaders routinely make statements in praise of genocide against all non-Turkish people groups living in Turkey, and are widely accused of carrying out political killings.