Following the recent suspension of a regional leader of the nationalist Grey Wolves in Turkey, a video recording has emerged on social media threatening to bear arms and kill “anyone who harms” the group, which is the unofficial youth wing of Turkey’s Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
The video released on Twitter by anonymous accounts on Wednesday featured three men in camouflage uniform wearing balaclavas.
Their threats came days after Serdar Turan, the Grey Wolves’ leader in Kayseri Province, was suspended by the Gray Wolves organization following the backlash against Turan, who had earlier taken to social media to level threats against the family of well-known Turkish leftist folk musician Ibrahim Gokcek, who had died following a hunger strike.
Describing Gokcek as an “infidel,” a masked man in the video said:
“If any of the members of the Gray Wolves harmed, our guns will be working.”
“We will bring you to account wherever you are, either in Gazi neighborhood, Iraq, or Raqqa,” he is heard saying in the video.
Ağızlarında salyalarla uluyan cihatçı güruh sahaya sürülmüş.
Kayseri ülkü ocakları başkanına destek veriyorlar.
Arkalarında El Kaide bayrağı ellerinde silahlar, Grup Yorum üyesi İbrahim Gökçek'in cenazesiyle ilgili video paylaşıp tehdit savurdular. pic.twitter.com/jKabmjqB6j
— İbrahim Gezici (@ibrahim_gezici) May 14, 2020
There were other threats made by the three men in defense of Turan and Grey Wolves members, with the three men claiming that the Grey Wolves were under attack on social media.
Where and by whom the video was filmed is unknown. It is not known if they were Grey Wolves members or part of another ultra-nationalist group coming out in support of the Grey Wolves.
The threats by the three men come a week after the ultra-nationalist party MHP’s youth groups attempted to attack the funeral of Gokcek, who died on May 7, two days after he ended his 323-day of a hunger strike.
In June 2019 he had joined other members of his band Grup Yorum on hunger strike to demand that the Turkish government end its suppression of the group, release its members from prison, and lifts its ban on the group holding concerts.
As Gokcek ended his protest, the Grup Yorum announced “the resistance has resulted in a political victory,” even though none of the groups’ demands have been met, despite the repeated calls on Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.
Gokcek had also demanded the removal of group members’ names from terror lists and putting an end to the raids of their cultural center.
During his funeral ceremony on May 8 held at an Istanbul cemevi, an Alevi house of worship, police blocked the roads leading to the Gazi neighborhood. Police prevented mourners from marching, citing the “social distancing” rule due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Mourners were subsequently teargassed as police forcefully entering the cemevi, detaining at least 27 mourners, including the lawyers and members of the Grup Yorum. They then seized Gokcek’s body, taking it away in a vehicle belonging to the Istanbul Municipality.
Grup Yorum later said his family took the singer’s body back and headed to the central Anatolian province of Kayseri for the burial under the police escort.
The Grey Wolves attempted stopped the convoy carrying Gokcek’s body, vowing they would not let the musician’s body be buried in “their city.”
“Even if they bury him here, we will take his body out of the grave and burn it,” said a man in the group on May 8.
Another group emerged at the graveyard in Kayseri two days later and attempted to attack the mourners and promising to burn the body as soon as the police leave the area.
Kayseri Gray Wolves’ head Serdar Turan earlier had made threats on his social media account on May 8 vowing to prevent Gokcek’s family from burying their son in the province.
“If they attempt to undertake such an action, their heads will not be on their bodies. No one should doubt that Turk’s fist will come down on them like a sledgehammer,” he wrote.
Despite the threats, Gokcek was finally laid to rest on May 9 at a cemetery in the province in the presence of armed police.
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) condemned the attack and threats, demanding an apology for the family and the Alevi community.
The MHP suspended Turan from his duties following the mass criticism against his call for a massacre of Gokcek’s family and fellow mourners.
Turkey accuses the members of Grup Yorum of being part of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP-C), an armed Marxist-Leninist group, responsible for carrying out numerous attacks on government officials and foreign officials in Turkey and abroad.
Founded in 1985 at Marmara University by a group of students, the well-known band has been storming the music scene of the country with multi-language resistance folk songs.
Following the July 2016 coup attempt, Ankara banned the group from performing concerts and put six members of the band, including Gokcek, on the “wanted terrorist list.”
The MHP is the junior partner in the alliance with Erdogan’s AKP. The Grey Wolves, founded in the late 1960s and currently led by Sinan Ates, is often described as an ultranationalist or even neo-fascist group, who have been linked to numerous attacks, including the 1978 Maras massacre in which 100 Alevis were killed as well as the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II.