PARIS – The French government on Wednesday banned a Turkish ultranationalist group it accused of carrying out violent actions and inciting hate speech in France.
The ban on gray wolves, the militant wing of the Turkish far-right Nationalist Movement Party. was approved at a weekly cabinet meeting, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said.
The government accuses the group of “extremely violent actions, disseminating” extremely violent threats “and creating” incitement to hatred against the authorities and Armenians, “Attal said.
He cited an Armenian memorial near the French city of Lyon which was discovered degraded last weekend. The memorial, which pays homage to the victims of the Armenian genocide of 1915, bore “Gray Wolf” and “RTE”. “RTE” is a reference to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
About 1.5 million people have died in massacres, deportations and forced marches by the Ottoman Turks in what is widely considered by historians to be genocide. Turkey denies the deaths constitute genocide, saying the toll has been inflated and those killed have been victims of civil war and unrest.
The group’s ban comes amid significant tensions between France and Turkey, which peaked in recent days after Erdogan said French President Emmanuel Macron needed a head exam for defending the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. In an unusual gesture, France recalled its ambassador to Turkey last month for consultations.