Ankara condemns U.S. bill urging designation of Grey Wolves as terrorist group
The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Wednesday condemned a U.S. bill calling for the designation of Turkey’s far-right nationalist Grey Wolves to be designated a terrorist organisation.
The passing of such a bill by the U.S. House of representatives, which is based on ''unfounded claims,’’ is ''unbefitting of the rooted alliance,’’ between Turkey and the United States, the ministry said in a statement, calling the move ''extremely saddening and worrisome.’’
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill, which includes an amendment calling for Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to submit a report assessing whether Turkey’s Grey Wolves meet the criteria to be designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).
Should U.S. Senate adopt a comparable provision, the United States will join a number of European countries targeting the paramilitary organisation linked to Turkey’s far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the junior coalition partner of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
The Grey Wolves, the de facto youth organisation of the MHP, were heavily associated with political violence that swept Turkey in the 1970s, targeting leftist activists and ethnic minorities in assaults, murders and arsons. They currently maintain a strong presence in Europe, where they are linked to violent confrontations.
The far-right group has been banned in Austria and France and last year German parliament adopted a motion urging the government to outlaw the group’s affiliates and monitor its activities.
Such a bill ‘’damages Turkey’s fight against terror,’’ the ministry said, urging the United States and Turkey’s other allies to focus instead on ‘’actual’’ terrorist organisations, such as the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a four decades-old Kurdish insurgency, and the Gülen movement, a religious group accused of orchestrating the July 2016 coup attempt.
MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli on Tuesday Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) on Tuesday blasted the bill, stressing that the United States would never be able to “intimidate’’ the nationalist and neo-nationalist movements of Turkey.
Turkish Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın on Tuesday also accused the United States of turning a blind eye to Turkey’s national security concerns through the continuous provision of support to terrorist organisations, regardless of the administration.
Kalın said that U.S. President Joe Biden continues to maintain U.S. support for terrorists, referring specifically the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), in an interview with Turkish Haber Global outlet.
Turkish President Recep Erdoğan has been saying that this problem needs to be resolved throughout the last three U.S. administrations and that Washington only cooperates with Ankara due to its interests, Kalın said.
The YPG is one of a string of issues increasing tensions in Ankara-Washington relations.
The Kurdish-majority YPG militia played a vital role in the U.S.-led coalition’s ground operations against the Islamic State (ISIS). But Turkey views the YPG as a PKK offshoot, thus a threat to national security, and has conducted multiple campaigns into Syria to push the group south from the Turkish-Syrian border region.