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Bozkurt (Grey Wolves)

The Bozkurt (Turkish Grey Wolves) was an extreme right wing nationalist movement, the "unofficial militant arm" of the Nationalist Movement Party. The National Movement Party ("Milliyetci Hareket Partisi", MHP, aka Nationalist Action Party), founded by Alparslan Turkes in the 1960s, like all other parties, was banned after the military coup of September 12, 1980. The National Workers Party ("Milliyetci Calisma Partisi", MCP) was founded in 1983 as a successor to the MHP, which as of 1992 is once again known as the MHP. A significant pillar of the MHP's ideology is the creation of the Turan, the Great Turkish Empire, including Turkish peoples in the countries of the former Soviet Union. The MHP supports the government's military approach to an 11-year insurgency by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in southeast Turkey, and it opposes any concessions to Kurdish separatists.

The "unofficial" militant arm of the MHP -- known as the Grey Wolves after a legendary she-wolf that led captive Central Asian Turks to freedom -- has been involved in street killings and gunbattles with leftists. Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turkish gunman who shot and wounded Pope John Paul II in 1981, was a former Grey Wolf. The Grey Wolves have been accused of assassinating, on July 6, 1996, the prominent Turkish Cypriot journalist Kutlu Adali, because of his criticism of the Denktash regime and, more generally, of Turkey's policies in Cyprus. In 1996 a turkish deputy from Tansu Ciller's True Path Party (DYP) revealed that Abdullah Chatli, the leader of the Grey Wolves, was responsible for arson fires in Greece's islands. Catli was killed in a 1996 car accident in Turkey which brought to light the relations between Turkish mafia and the government.

The Grey Wolves are believed by some to be actively collaborating with the terrorist underground in China's northwest autonomous territory of Xinjiang, considering the region part of the 'Great Turan' (the idea of a single state for the Turkic people). In August 2015, the Grey Wolves staged a bomb attack in Bangkok, killing 19 and injuring 123, over the Thai government's decision to deport Uyghur terrorist suspects back to China instead of allowing them to travel to Turkey, where they would have received asylum. In Europe, Grey Wolves members have been involved in political killings of Kurds, have defiled Armenian monuments, and beat up Chinese tourists. In recent years, the group has been accused of recruiting fighters for the war in Syria.

Formed in the late 1960s as the youth wing of the extreme-right-wing Nationalist Movement Party, whose proclaimed goal is to unite all Turkic peoples in one state, the Grey Wolves were initially led by Colonel Alparslan Turkes, an open admirer of the ideas of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. The group became one of the main nationalist terrorist organizations during the era of political violence which plagued Turkey from 1976 until 1980, effectively becoming a death squad engaged in the killings of trade unionists, journalists, activists from the Kurdish movement, communists and various 'objectionable' officials.

The organization is known for having staged a massacre in Istanbul during the May Day demonstrations in 1977, and over the years its militants have killed thousands of civilians in Kurdish areas; the Grey Wolves are also believed to have been involved in the assassination attempt on John Paul II in 1981. According to Turkish authorities, the organization carried out 694 murders between 19741980. The "Grey Wolves," were a powerful and ruthless group of right-wing Turkish mafia members, involved in every conceivable manner of illegal trafficking. The Turkish government was trying to recover from a decade of right-wing versus left-wing violence during which drug trafficking by both Armenian terrorists of the Secret Armenian Army for the Liberation of Armenia and the new-Nazi Grey Wolves played an important role.

Alparslan Turkes (Trkes), was the founder of the Turkish National Action Party (Milliyeti Hareket Partisi, MHP) in 1969 and its militant arm the Grey Wolves (Bozkurtlar). Led by Colonel Alpaslan Turkes, the National Action Party espoused a fanatical pan-Turkish ideology that called for reclaiming large sections of the Soviet Union under the flag of a re-born Turkish empire. Turkish nationalists widely used translations of Nazi texts and formed a Nazi-like credo "the Turkish race above all others.

The Grey Wolves had also established close ties with the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations (ABN), backed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The ABN was an umbrella organization for anti-Communist migr former Nazi collaborators formed in 1943 by the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN). Headed by the infamous Nazi collaborator and OUN member Yaroslav Stetsko, the organization brought together a wide range of Eastern European emigration groups. It is no secret that the CIA used former Nazi collaborators and executioners as a Cold War instrument against the USSR.

Turkes established over 100 camps across Turkey for MHP's military arm. The ultra-nationalist group took part in terror activities aimed against their leftist rivals and Kurds in the 1970s, resulting in the death of almost 6,000 people. It is believed that Bozkurtlar were also responsible for a 1981 assassination attempt aimed against Pope John Paul II. Despite the massacre they unleashed, the Grey Wolves enjoyed full protection from Turkey's counter-guerilla units of a Special Warfare Department.

Different Turkish Mafia organisations had a relatively free hand in the 1990s in the international heroin trade. Besides the more traditional extended Mafia families, different political movement like the Grey Wolves, Dev Sol, and the PKK also played a part. The Grey Wolves [Bozkurtlar], a neo-fascist terrorist group' worked with and for the Turkish mafia and the Turkish intelligence services. The Global Drugs Monitor also noted that 'the extreme right wing political-criminal organization of the Gray Wolves... financed by heroin trafficking, is protected by high-level figures within the Turkish government who use the Gray Wolves to eliminate their political enemies, not only in Turkey but also abroad'. This Turkish arms mafia operating out of Communist Bulgaria under the direct control and supervision of the Bulgarian Secret Service is making use of rightwing Turkish terrorist exiles as couriers for drugs and for gun-running to pass back into Turkey for the destabilization of Turkey.

Who Shot the Pope?

On 13 May 1981, Pope John Paul II was struck by a would-be assassin's bullet. Pope John Paul II has spoken out on numerous occasions with respect to the human rights situation in Poland, actions which clearly annoyed officials in the Kremlin, deeply disturbed them. Reports including the NBC White Paper, "The Man Who Shot the Pope - A Study in Terrorism," as well as Claire Sterling's article in the Reader's Digest entitled "The Plot to Murder the Pope," raised serious questions concerning the role the Bulgarian Secret Police and Soviet KGB played in this heinous act of international terrorism. Claire Sterling, noted journalist, provided information on the life and times of terrorist Mehmet Ali Agca, including his involvement with the Turkish arms ring supported by the Bulgarians.

The would be assassin in this case was not a mere half-crazed, religious fanatic or fascist out to kill the Pope for some bizarre reason comprehensible only to his own demented mind. He was a cold killer, with extensive connections with the underworld of European and Middle Eastern terrorism including, quite possibly, Eastern European intelligence services. The trial of Mehmet Ali Agca lasted only 2 1/2 days, and was restricted totally to the discussion of whether or not he did point the gun and fire it at the Pope, that although that trial ended on that note, the judge conducting -that trial and his assistants in drawing up their motivation for the life sentence which was published 2 months after the trial, said "He did not act alone. He was assisted by. hidden forces involved in a vast international, conspiracy."

Claire Sterling wrote "Pope John Paul II was undoubtedly the victim of an organized conspiracy. The Vatican itself has said as much, through the Papal Secretary of State and Osservatore Romano. There were at least two accomplices at the scene, observed and described or photographed by several witnesses. Agca himself had been kept in ample funds (an estimated $50,000 over a year and a half), was plainly getting backup help as he went along (the Pensione Isa reservation was made in fluent Italian), and got last-minute instructions (found among his effects).... While Agca was never a Gray Wolf bigshot, hovering only at the fringes of the movement, he assuredly moved in rightist circles at home and abroad. But what good would it do rightists in Turkey, or their European counterparts, to assassinate the Supreme head of the Roman Catholic Church ? ... The most widely credited theory among Turks close to the case involves a kind of osmosis, whereby Turkey's rightwing forces were infiltrated and manipulated in the Soviet Union's interest."

Since the important issue for the US was whether the Soviets (and secondarily, the Bulgarians) were involved, it made sense to organize analysis around this question. If the Soviets were not involved, it did not matter a great deal to US policy whether the Grey Wolves, Mafia elements, or Agca alone was responsible for the crime. New information that has surfaced since 1985 about past Soviet use of political violence reinforced the view that the possibility of Soviet involvement in the papal assassination attempt had to be thoroughly examined.

Nationalist Action Party (NAP / MHP)

The Nationalist Action Party (NAP / MHP) widely known as the Greywolves or Idealists finished second in the April 1999 Turkish parliamentary elections, with 18 percent of the total vote. The NAP also achieved considerable success in simultaneously-held municipal elections. In previous elections, the NAP had remained below the national limit of ten per cent of the popular vote that would have entitled them to a role in the Turkish parliament. The NAPs unprecedented success came as a surprise to Turkish political life. Even the top leaders of the NAP had not anticipated such a resounding success, at least a 100 per cent increase in performance over the previous elections of 1995.

On 23 February 1963, Alparslan Turkes returned from exile. He and the other members of the fourteen3 had kept in touch despite the fact that they had been forced to settle in different parts of the world. Important members of the fourteen, such as Diindar Taser and Muzaffer Ozdag, with the guidance of Turkes, participated in the Republican Peasant National Partys (RPNP) (Cumhuriyetgi Kdylii Millet Partisi, CMKP) congress of 1965. It became obvious that their aim was to take over this small party and to reorganize it according to their own political ideology.

Following the military coup of 1980, the military junta closed down the NAP on 16 October 1981. As a result, a great fragmentation occurred in the party base and many important members joined other new parties that were in formation, such as the Motherland Party of Turgut Ozal. The NAP was re-established in 1992 when the National Assembly adopted a bill that lifted the ban on the use of political party names that pre-dated the 1980 military coup.

Since he became chairman in 1997, Devlet Bahceli entirely revamped MHP's image. Many voters who saw them as a barely-controlled band of ultranationalist "grey wolf" thugs a decade earlier accepted them as a relatively respectable, responsible political party. Bahceli began this rebranding by placing technocrats and intellectuals in prominent party positions and cemented the change by participating responsibly in a 1999-2002 coalition government with Bulent Ecevit's Democratic Left Party DSP, once arch-rivals of the MHP.

Grey Wolves - Recent Activities

The Grey Wolves took part both in the Nagorno-Karabakh War of 1992 between Azerbaijan and Armenia (on the Azerbaijani side) and in the First and the Second Chechen Wars, in 1994 and 1999, respectively, on the side of Chechen Islamists. Furthermore, in 1995 Bozkurtlar were spotted making an attempt to seize power in Azerbaijan. Bangkok-based geopolitical analyst Tony Cartalucci calls attention to the fact that the Grey Wolves have recently bolstered their activity in Central Asia, including former Soviet states and, most notably, China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The analyst assumes that Bozkurtlar could have been behind numerous terror attacks carried out by Uyghur separatists in China.

Sweden's Minister of Housing Mehmet Kaplan triggered a major controversy after a photograph of him emerged having dinner with members of the far-right Turkish organization Grey Wolves, the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet reported inA pril 2016. Photographs leaked to the Swedish media show Mehmet Kaplan, a 43-year-old Turkey-born member of the Green Party (Miljpartiet) and part of the coalition government with the Social Democrats (Socialdemokraterna), sitting at the same table with notorious extremists Barbaros Leylani and Ilhan Senturk, president of the Grey Wolves branch in Sweden. Mehmet Kaplan, Sweden's minister of housing, urban development and IT, called it quits after having stirred a great controversy with his anti-Semitic comments and alleged neo-Nazi links.

Viktor Nadein-Raevsky, a senior research fellow at the Moscow-based Institute of World Economy and International Relations, noted in 2015 that the Grey Wolves "have big plans, and they will stop at nothing to try to achieve them. It's necessary to understand that this is a pro-fascist, terrorist organization, dedicated toward the creation of the Great Turan State, as taught by the Grey Wolves' ideological leader, Alparslan Turkes." According to the analyst, "it's difficult to estimate at the moment exactly how many 'Wolves' there are today. Prior to the 1980 coup in Turkey, there were between 200 to 400 thousand; after that, verified information was no longer available. The group has its own training camps; it is a very modern organization."

"Turkish involvement in the Syrian war has been heavily dominated by Islamist fighters, but the conflict has also drawn in an unlikely quarter Turkish nationalists. The far-right Nationalist Action Party (MHP) and its youth branch, the Idealist Hearths, have recently come into the spotlight with high-profile losses on the Syrian battlefield," Fehim Tastekin noted in his February 2016 article for Al-Monitor's Turkey Pulse.

Tastekin called attention to the fact that unlike Turkish Islamists who "were regulars" in armed conflicts in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo and Chechnya, the ultranationalists "had only taken feeble interest" in "jihadi" wars. Now, however, their military activity caught a second wind in northern Syria under the pretext of protecting the Syrian Turkmen minority against Syrian Kurds and Russians.

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Page last modified: 08-01-2021 13:49:20 ZULU