Afrin’s New Assailants: Inside the Grey Wolves, The Anti-Kurdish, NATO-Aligned Group

Afrin’s New Assailants: Inside the Grey Wolves, The Anti-Kurdish, NATO-Aligned Group

As citizens across Europe protest daily against Erdogan’s invasion of Afrin, a shadowy far-right armed group aligned with the Turkish ultra-right and NATO has become intimately involved in the war in northern Syria. The organisation, known as the “Grey Wolves,” has also been involved in the harassment of pro-Kurdish protestors in Germany, according to news sources.


The Grey Wolves were founded exactly 50 years ago in 1968, at the apex of a period of social revolution in Europe and the world. Turkey was no exception to this trend, and nationalist leaders in the country were deeply concerned with the potential popularity of communist and left-wing ideas in Turkey.


Set up by Alparslan Türkeş…

…the group was to function as the paramilitary group of the ultra-right MHP party, and began its life targeting student activists and left-wing people. However, it soon acquired the character of a death squad, similar to those backed by the US and NATO in Latin America under the umbrella of Operation Condor and the P2 (Propaganda Due),  a neofascist organisation behind the right-wing terrorism during Italy’s “Years of Lead” (Berlusconi was a member).


The group aggressively murdered union leaders and intellectuals, but its main targets were journalists and Kurds. According to Turkish authorities (who may be untrustworthy due to their complicity in some of the group’s actions) the Grey Wolves carried out 694 murders between 1974–1980.


The Grey Wolves were not merely a domestic fascist network, however. They had close ties to the Turkish Counter-Guerrilla, allegedly part of NATO’s infamous Operation Gladio, and may have even received weapons and explosives directly from the Atlantic alliance.


Abdullah Çatlı, the Grey Wolves’ leader throughout the 1970s and into the 1980s, in fact used his organisation to help smuggle West German and European arms, including Leopard Tanks and machine guns, into the Middle East throughout the 1980s in exchange for cocaine, according to Los Angeles Times reporter Martin A. Lee, who later received praise for his work from The New York Times.


More recently, the Grey Wolves have taken up ultra-right and violent protests and even assassinations of Greek and Kurdish nationals, battling the PKK throughout the region. They have also established a foothold in West European countries, particularly Germany.


Neues Deutschland has described them as the “largest far-right wing extreme group in Germany” with over 10,000 members. The Grey Wolves have attacked and harassed left-wing, Kurdish, and anti-Erdogan groups throughout the country.


The Canary, a pro-Corbyn website in Britain, has claimed that Wolves are now involved in perhaps their most brutal operations yet: the mutilation of Kurdish female YPG fighters and brutalisation of Afrin on behest of the Erdogan government.


The group still has ties to the Turkish state and NATO-linked ex-Gladio networks. Meanwhile, H&K, and Daimler weapons are continuing to be delivered by the SDP-CDU grand coalition to fight against the Kurds. Erdogan has expanded his powers of repression into Europe, with the Czech government prosecuting a Syrian-Kurdish politician to the horror of thousands of Europeans concerned with human rights.


With his government losing popularity amid a nationalist spat with Greece that may lead to further conflict, Erdogan has been forced to make a deal: the political wing of the Grey Wolves, the MHP, will be partnering with Erdogan in the 2019 elections. Rest assured this will only increase the influence of the Grey Wolves and the network that birthed them.





@CivicCritic: Covering issues of globalisation, multinational corporations, resistance and international solidarity. Alterglobalist.



Salutation of the Turkish extremist Organisation “Grey Wolves” (Bozkurtçular), Ülkücü (=Idealist)-Movement, for example in Turkey organized in the party MHP (Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi) or “Türk Federasyon” for example in Germany organised as “Almanya Demokratik Ülkücü Türk Dernekleri Federasyonu”, in short ADÜTDF. In the greeting, the hand is put forth, like in other fascistic movements. The organisation was founded by Alparslan Türkeş, the “big leader” (Başbuğ).

By Canlanma – Own work,

CC BY-SA 3.0,


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