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Suspect in murder of former Grey Wolves leader detained in far-right MP’s house

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A suspect in the murder of the former president of the the Grey Wolves, the far-right Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP) youth wing, was detained in the house of a lawmaker from the party, Deutsche Welle Turkish service reported on Tuesday.

Sinan Ateş, an academic and the former president of the Grey Wolves, was fatally shot in the capital city of Ankara last week. Ateş, who was leaving an apartment in Kızılırmak with a friend when they were attacked by two men on motorcycles, was seriously injured by a bullet to the head and pronounced dead shortly after being taken to a hospital.

According to DW, suspect Tolgahan Demirbaş, a former senior official of the Grey Wolves who is accused of aiding the perpetrators of Ateş’s murder, was detained in a house belonging to MHP MP Olcay Kılavuz.

Demirbaş was surprisingly released by a prosecutor shortly after detention without providing testimony, DW said.

Although the exact number of suspects detained as part of an investigation launched into the incident by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office isn’t known, among the detainees are Vedat Balkaya, who was driving the motorcycle during the attack, the MHP’s provincial board member in İstanbul Ufuk Köktürk and two special forces police.

DW also said that Eray Özyağcı, who fired the gun during the attack, and Doğukan Çep, who was determined to have links to both Balkaya and Özyağcı, were still on the run.

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), on Tuesday accused President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his far-right ally Devlet Bahçeli, leader of the MHP, of ignoring Ateş’s murder in line with their political calculations.

“We know a lot, we are aware of how fishy this incident sounds. We’re remaining silent for now so the officials [investigating it] can do their job,” the CHP leader said.

Ateş, who served as the president of the Grey Wolves between 2019 and 2020, was directly dismissed by Bahçeli and has been the target of the group’s members on social media. He also drew a reaction from MHP members recently for taking a photo with figures from the nationalist opposition İYİ (Good) Party.

In 2020 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.

Earlier last year, the European Parliament called on the European Union and its member states to examine the possibility of adding the Grey Wolves 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.

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