Fascist Grey Wolves in the Netherlands

On 5 January, the deputy prime minister of Turkey, Devlet Bahceli, visited the Netherlands at the invitation of the Turkish Federation of Holland (TFN), the fascist Grey Wolves' main front organisation in the country.

Bahceli, who is also chairman and boss of the Grey Wolves' parent organisation, the Party of Nationalist Action (MHP), addressed 4,000 enthusiastic TFN supporters at a big concert hall in Den Bosch. In his entourage were MHP big shots from Turkey, the Turkish ambassador to the Netherlands and the two consuls there.

The meeting was organised, it appears, as part of an MHP European propaganda and recruitment drive, which has included similar trips to Germany, France and Belgium. The TFN dressed up its political rally as a "cultural event" and, despite considerable protest, the Dutch government and the Den Bosch city council decided to give permission for the gathering to go ahead.

Little thought, it appears was given to the well established fact that the Grey Wolves in Turkey (and elsewhere) are a byword for racism, terror, torture, disappearances, kidnappings, mass-murder. The pan-Turkish ideology which underpins all their violence dreams of a Turkey stretching from Vienna to the Wall of China.

The Grey Wolves in western Europe today were originally sent there at the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s to infiltrate Turkish immigrant workers. Their task, at that time, was to combat Turkish left-wingers who had had to leave their homeland because of harsh state repression but, later, the Kurdish issue became equally important for the fascists. As a result, the Grey Wolves stepped up their activities in the Netherlands by founding the TFN in 1995. The latter now has around 56 local units and an estimated membership of 30,000.

The list of racist and other crimes committed by this mob is very long. For example, they have attacked anti-racist demonstrations, severely wounded members of an Amnesty International picket and stabbed a Turkish hunger striker to death in Rotterdam. They are also deeply involved in mafia-like activities including drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, extortion from Turkish entrepreneurs and contract killing.

For reasons best known to itself, however, the Dutch government is strangely reluctant to take action against TFN racketeering. While it is difficult to pin all its crimes on the TFN, a halt to its mass rallies, a ban on public funding for its offshoot organisations and a serious effort to prevent Turkish youth from falling fall into the claws of the Grey Wolves would be a positive start to government action.

Given that the Dutch government is trying to encourage the integration of immigrants into Dutch society, it should be intervening to stop the Grey Wolves' sinister policy of influencing and intimidating the Turkish community in the Netherlands. On 5 January, the government had a chance to give precisely such a signal to democratic Turkish and Kurdish people in the Netherlands by banning the rally laid on by the TFN for the Grey Wolves' führer.

It did not do so. Instead, it gave the green light for what it bizarrely insisted on labelling 'a cultural manifestation', despite widespread advance publicity about MHP participants like Mustafa Yildizdogan, the Grey Wolves' most popular singer, who sang a lyric paying fulsome homage to the MHP's founder, Alparslan Turkes, who died in April 1997. Turkes, a big admirer of Adolf Hitler, often laced his speeches with extensive quotes from the Turkish edition of Mein Kampf. He also had contacts with the fascist Deutsche Volksunion in Germany.

The only protest on the day of the rally came from Turkish and Dutch anti-fascists who, because permission for their demonstration was deliberately delayed, could only mobilise 200 people to gather in the inner city of Den Bosch while the Grey Wolves were rallying on the other side of town.

Speakers at the anti-fascist demonstration, though, lashed the policy of the Turkish government in the so-called 'War against Terrorism', which is being used by Turkey to silence internal critics, criticised Dutch policy on Turkish and Kurdish refugees and conscientious objectors, denounced the infiltration of Grey Wolves in Dutch politics and laid into the "look-the-other-way" stance of NATO, the USA, the EU, the IMF and the World Bank towards the Turkish regime. These countries and institutions are making possible the worst kinds of human rights abuses in Turkey through their loans, investments, military assistance and sales of weapons to the Turkish state.

From Jeroen Bosch of Anti-Fascist Action