Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tanju Bilgiç has criticized the European Parliament (EP) for calling on the European Union and its member states to examine the possibility of adding the Grey Wolves, the far-right Ülkücü movement, which enjoys a well-organized structure in Turkey, to the EU terrorist list.
In its 2019-2020 report prepared by Turkey rapporteur Nacho Sanchez Amor, the EP voiced concerns about the group, saying it was expanding to worrying levels not only in Turkey but also in EU countries.
Underlining that the group is linked to the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), an ally of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the EP also called on EU countries to ban associations affiliated with them and closely monitor their activities since they pose a threat mainly to Kurds, Armenians and people of Greek origin, according to the report.
“While the activities of PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] and FETÖ [a derogatory term coined by Ankara to refer to the Gülen movement] affiliated associations are tolerated by some EU member states … a call to include a legal movement … on the EU Terrorist Organizations List … can only be defined as an abdication of reason,” Bilgiç said in a written statement on Wednesday released on the ministry website.
“Racism and fascism are concepts that belong to Western political jargon, and this political line shouldn’t be confused with the perception of nationalism in Turkey,” the spokesperson added.
Bilgiç further argued that the EP was “detached from reality and European values” due to calling for “restricting fundamental rights and freedoms.”
The ministry had earlier reacted to the EP report in a written statement, saying that it was “unilateral and by no means objective” and that it was unacceptable “in a period when efforts are made to revive Turkey-EU relations on the basis of EU membership perspective within the framework of a positive agenda.”
“We consider that the wording in the report, which is trying to open the future of Turkey’s accession negotiations to discussion, reflects a lack of vision and an effort to deviate from the principle of pacta sunt servanda,” it added.
In early November France officially banned the Grey Wolves after a center dedicated to the memory of those who died in the mass killings of Armenians during World War I was defaced with graffiti, including the name of the Grey Wolves.
Other European countries have also considered banning the group.