The Turkish Movement, is officially known as “Ülkü Ocakları”, as a national organization founded by the Turkish Colonel Alp Arslan in the late 1960s. It is known today as the “Gray Wolves” movement that represents ultra-nationalism, neo-fascism and the militant arm as the paramilitary wing of the ultra-nationalist movement party which has been used by Erdogan as the militiry arm in Europe and the Middle East.
The movement was listed on terrorism list in Turkey until 2018, it was removed when the “Republican Alliance” between the Justice and Development Party and the National Movement Party was held in order to win the Turkish presidential election.
The organization consists entirely of Turkish youth, especially students or people who have been displaced from the countryside to Istanbul and Ankara, as well as the discontented poor.
The movement belief system relies on the ethnic superiority of the Turks. In addition to subjugate other nations like Kurds, Greece and Armenians, it tries to restore Turkish influence and history and to unite the Turkmen in several countries to re-establish Turkish empire. According to the “Gray Wolves”, the Turkish state borders stretch from the Balkans to Central Asia and are inspired by the history of the Ottoman Empire.
Supporters of the “Gray Wolves” use certain symbols that reveal the extent of the racism of their elements as opposed to their hatred of all peoples, especially Arab peoples, for claiming that Arabs previously betrayed their Ottoman ancestors. The movement enjoys widespread support on the pages of Turkish newspapers and social media to glorify the operations carried out by the movement.
The Turkish movement has a large number of camps, up to 1,700 branches, and includes around 200,000 officially registered members and a million sympathizers. From 1980 the movement was able to supply its camps with Turkish fighters and students by training them intellectually and militarily in order to use them as the main force in political violence.
It is a movement that operates in the shadow with the Turkish intelligence and managed by former Turkish intelligence officers or military contractors.
Moscow accuses one of the elements of this movement of assassinating the Russian pilot in 2015, and its members participate in the fighting alongside with the Free Army’s second doastal division against the separatist Syrian Army.
Star of the “Gray Wolves” has shone during the internal political conflict in Turkey in the late 1970s, and its operations contributed to the exhaustion of the opponents. The movement was involved in more than 700 terrorist operations, including the Bangkok bombings in summer 2015 that killed 20 people. The “Gray Wolves” was the most prominent suspects in the attempt to assassinate Pope John Paul II, as well as it was involved in carrying out a group of liquidations and assassinations against Kurdish, Armenian and Alawite personalities.
Members of the “Gray Wolves” fought alongside the Chechen separatists during the First Chechen War (1994 – 1996) and the Second Chechen War (1999 – 2000) against the Russian Army. With the knowledge of the Turkish government, the “Gray Wolves” transported arms shipments to Chechnya.
Lately, Germany began to monitor the elements of the “Gray Wolves” and to investigate its members who were involved in a large number of crimes, while German media suggests members 100,000 members for the Turkish movement involved in attacks and assassination against the Kurds.
Nor was Cyprus exempt from the terror attacks of the gray wolves movement by the Turkish secret service. After the Turkish invasion of Northern Cyprus in 1974, the movement played a role in fueling the conflict and making it more extremist with the Greek Cypriots by using violence on the island and supporting the President of Northern Cyprus.
The movement was present in 77 state operations at home, a massacre against Alevis, and the murder of a thousand students at Istanbul University.
It is considered a hidden organization and is usually run as a cultural and sports organization so the information available about them is scarce. They have repeatedly denied their status as a political organization, claiming they are a cultural organization.