France to ban Turkish ultra-nationalist Grey Wolves following vandalism

Source: AFP Published: 2020/11/3 17:13:41

A man pays tribute to victims of knife attack outside Notre-Dame basilica in Nice, France, Oct. 30, 2020. France's vigilance against terrorism is raised to the highest level of "attack emergency" throughout the national territory following the knife attack in Nice, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Thursday. Early Thursday morning, a knife attacker stabbed to death three people at Notre-Dame basilica in central Nice. The alleged perpetrator has shot by police and transferred to hospital.Photo:Xinhua

France plans to ban a Turkish ultra-nationalist group known as the Grey Wolves, the interior minister said Monday, in a move that risks further straining already tense relations with Ankara.

The dissolution was announced after a memorial center to mass killings of Armenians during World War I was defaced with graffiti including the name of the Grey Wolves at the weekend.

The move to ban the Grey Wolves -seen as a wing of a party allied to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan - will be put to the French cabinet on Wednesday, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told a parliamentary committee.

"To put it mildly, we are talking about a particularly aggressive group," Darmanin said. 

"It deserves to be dissolved," he added, saying the move meant that actions or meetings by the group can be punished by fines or imprisonment. 

His announcement came after a memorial center outside Lyon to the mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, regarded as genocide by Armenia, was defaced with pro-Turkish slogans including "Grey Wolves" and "RTE" in reference to Erdogan.

The incident in the town of Decines-Charpieu came against a background of sharp tension in France between its Armenian and Turkish communities over the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Four people were wounded outside Lyon on October 28 in clashes between suspected Turkish nationalists and Armenians protesting against Azerbaijan's military offensive.

Armenians have long campaigned for the mass killings of their ancestors in the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to be recognized as genocide.

In an apparent new act of vandalism, the Armenian consulate in Lyon on Monday was daubed in yellow paint with "1915" and a heart-shaped emoji followed by "RTE."

The Committee of the Defense of the Armenian Cause, or CDCA, welcomed the ban.

"French citizens of Armenian origin were waiting for this decision because they're scared," CDCA president Jules Boyadijan told AFP. 

"They didn't think they'd be living in fear in France."


Posted in: EUROPE

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