The Interior Minister said France plans to ban a Turkish ethnic extremist group called the Gray Wolf, in a move that risks further straining already tense relations with Ankara.
The dissolution was announced after a memorial center for mass homicides of Armenians during World War I was blurred with graffiti that included the name of the Gray Wolf over the weekend.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said before a parliamentary committee a move to ban Gray Wolf – seen as the wing of a party allied with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – would be put into the French cabinet on Wednesday. .
“To put it mildly, we̵7;re talking about a particularly aggressive group,” said Darmanin.
“It deserves dissolution,” he added, the move meaning that the group’s actions or meetings could be punished with fines or imprisonment.
His statement came after a memorial center outside of Lyon of the Armenian mass murder in the Ottoman Empire, considered an Armenian genocide, was smeared with slogans in favor Turkey includes “Gray Wolves” and “RTE” in reference to Erdogan.
The incident in the town of Decines-Charpieu came amid fierce tensions in France between Armenian and Turkish communities over the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Turkey strongly supported its Azerbaijani ally in the regional conflict of Azerbaijan but has been controlled by Armenian separatists since the war of the 1990s when the Soviet Union fell.
Four people were injured outside Lyon last Wednesday in clash between suspected Turkish nationalists and Armenians opposing Azerbaijan’s military attack.
Armenians have long campaigned for the mass murders of their ancestors in the Ottoman Empire since 1915 be recognized as genocide.
In an apparent new act of vandalism, the Armenian consulate in Lyon on Monday was painted yellow with the words “1915” and a heart-shaped emoji, followed by “RTE”.
The Armenian Cause Protection Commission, or CDCA, welcomes the ban.
“Armenian French citizens have been waiting for this decision because they are scared,” CDCA president Jules Boyadijan told AFP.
“They don’t think they will live in fear in France.”
– ‘There is no place in our country’ –
Darmanin’s move risks increasing tensions with Ankara.
In Turkey, the Gray Wolf is closely linked with Devlet Bahceli’s National Movement Party (MHP), which has a political alliance with Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Analysts see the MHP as crucial to Erdogan’s continued dominance over Turkey, with Bahceli’s backing as a key factor behind his victory in the 2018 presidential election.
The Gray Wolf is considered the warrior wing of the MHP and caused havoc on the streets of Turkey during the 1970s and 1980s when its members frequently clashed with leftist activists.
People associated with the Gray Wolf, known as Bozkurtlar in Turkish, and MHP have traditionally shown their loyalty with a hand gesture in which the index and little fingers are raised.
Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turkish nationalist who plotted to assassinate Pope John Paul II in 1981, is also involved in the movement.
“It’s great news,” said French MP Yael Braun-Pivet, who chaired the legal committee where Darmanin made the announcement. “These violent groups have no place in our country,” she wrote on Twitter.
There have been weeks of tensions between France and Turkey, culminating last month after the beheading of a French teacher who showed his students a cartoon mocking the Muslim Prophet Mohammed.
In the wake of the murder, President Emmanuel Macron launched a stubborn defense of freedom of expression, including the right to ridicule religion, prompting Erdogan to question his mental health.
France responded by summoning its ambassador to Ankara for consultation.
In an interview with Al-Jazeera on Saturday, Macron accused Turkey of adopting a “strict” stance on NATO allies, saying tensions could ease if Mr. Erdogan showed respect. and don’t lie.
After a series of attacks by Islamic forces in recent weeks, France is also taking steps to ban Islamist groups and cut their foreign funds.
In Compiegne, a town in northern France, two wild boars were found Monday on the site of the construction of the new office of a Franco-Turkish cultural exchange association, said they filed an allegation of infringement and “an act of aggression”.
alh-sjw / cb / mlr / spm / tgb