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Iran Press TV

Turkey vows 'firm' response to France ban on 'Grey Wolves'

Iran Press TV

Wednesday, 04 November 2020 7:27 PM

Turkey has vowed to 'respond in the firmest way' to France's decision to dissolve the Turkish Grey Wolves group.

Turkey's Foreign Ministry said Paris had to "protect the freedom of assembly and expression of Turks in France."

"We will respond in the firmest way possible to this decision."

Earlier on Wednesday, the French government said it has disbanded the Grey Wolves, a wing of Turkey's Nationalist Movement Party, which is allied with the Justice and Development Party (AKP) led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The French government accused the group of involvement in "extremely violent actions" and "incitement to hatred against authorities and Armenians," citing the defacement of an Armenian memorial near the city of Lyon last weekend.

The memorial, which honors victims of the 1915 mass killing of Armenians by the Ottoman forces, had 'Grey wolf' written on it.

Armenians claim that up to 1.5 million Armenian Christians were systematically slaughtered in eastern Turkey through mass killings, forced relocations and starvation, a process that began in 1915 and took place over several years during World War I and the breakup of the Ottoman Empire.

The ban came against the backdrop of sharp tension between the Armenian and Turkish communities in France over the ongoing conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, which is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but has an Armenian population.

Turkey is a main ally of Baku in the latest fighting over the region which began on September 27.

In its statement, the Turkish ministry denied the very existence of the group, saying France was "dealing with an imaginary formation."

It added that wolves were a common symbol used in many states and had no legal status as such.

France and Turkey have been at loggerheads over a number of issues, including the eastern Mediterranean and Libya.

The tensions between the two countries reached a peak in recent days after President Erdogan said French President Emmanuel Macron needed "mental health treatment" for defending blasphemous cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

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