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Nationalists shave off their moustaches to protest MHP’s silence over ex-Grey Wolves leader’s death

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A number of nationalists in Turkey shared social media posts showing them shaving off their moustaches, a facial feature that declares their ideology, to protest the far-right Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP) silence over the recent murder of the former president of the Grey Wolves, the party’s youth wing, local media reported on Monday.

The ends of the moustache typically worn by nationalists extend downwards, like the shape of a crescent moon, which is featured on the flags of both Turkey and the MHP.

Sinan Ateş, an academic and the former president of the Grey Wolves, was fatally shot in the capital city of Ankara on Dec 30. 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.

Nationalists have accused the MHP of failing to react to Ateş’s murder and started sharing videos on TikTok that show them shaving off their moustaches in protest.

“The cause is buried in the ground with Sinan Ateş,” the nationalists said in their posts, referring to the far-right party’s ideology.

According to Turkish media reports, 13 suspects in connection to the murder, including two police officers, have been jailed pending trial so far as part of an investigation launched into the incident by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Ateş, who served as president of the Grey Wolves between 2019 and 2020, was directly dismissed by the leader of the MHP 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.

The Grey Wolves are seen as the paramilitary wing of the MHP, and their ideology is mainly based on Turkish nationalism. Therefore, Kurds, Armenians and other minorities in Turkey have occasionally been their targets.

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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